Trudeau shouldn’t let ‘human rights’ biases influence relationship

Source:Xinhua Published: 2016/9/1 17:38:39

As Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau Tuesday started a week-long trip to China, he should grasp the opportunity to build a new golden era of relations with the Middle Kingdom.

Trudeau expected the trip, his first to China since taking office in November 2015, would lay the groundwork for a "closer, more balanced" relationship between the two countries.

However, the trip has been complicated by some hindrances in bilateral ties, such as the frequent bias-ridden debates about China's human rights.

During his visit to Canada in June, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi firmly rejected human rights accusations against Beijing.

His attitude represents the general sentiment among the Chinese people that should be respected by Western governments and media.

In fact, the so-called human rights issue stems from the West's long-standing prejudice and arrogance against China, even after the country has adopted the policy of reform and opening-up for more than three decades, lifted more than 600 million people out of poverty and grown into the world's economic powerhouse.

China included the line - "The state respects and guarantees human rights" - in its Constitution in 2004, launched national human rights action plans in 2009 to review its human rights progress and has promised harder efforts in the future.

Ottawa should not allow such groundless concerns to stand in the way of mutually beneficial cooperation with Beijing, which has demonstrated its sincerity and willingness for a win-win future by concrete initiatives, projects and deals.

In fact, all countries, including Canada, have improvement to make over the human rights issue.

For example, some indigenous people in Canada still live in miserable conditions. They deserve more support and real change in their lives.

It is penny-wise and pound-foolish to spoil China-Canada ties with these domestic concerns in Canada.

That is probably what has prompted Trudeau to start his China trip, which he believed would create new opportunities for his country's businesses and sluggish economy.

A half million Canadian jobs are believed to depend on bilateral trade between China and Canada, which amounted to about $67.16 billion in 2015, a 10.1-percent increase over 2014, and accounted for 8.1 percent of Canada's total trade.

The joint Sino-Canadian projects in such areas as nuclear energy, infrastructure, interconnectivity, modern agriculture and innovation, have great potential.

The two countries can also deepen people-to-people and local exchanges as well as enhance cooperation in law enforcement and anti-corruption.

The upcoming Hangzhou summit of the G20, a multilateral framework to which Canada has made important contributions, will also offer an opportunity for the two countries to maintain coordination in regional and international affairs.

China and Canada should put aside their differences, enhance mutual political trust and enrich the connotation of their strategic partnership.

It is hoped that Trudeau will follow the path of his liberal predecessors, like his father Pierre Trudeau who pioneered setting up diplomatic ties with China, and Jean Chretien who started a golden decade of bilateral ties, to create another golden era of relations with China.

The article is a commentary from the Xinhua News Agency.

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