View Full Version : Strong Message from PM to China on Mr. Celil

30-10-06, 22:46


MARY YANG (Sing Tao Daily): I know that people are very concerned about
your China, relationship with China. So, shall we start with that?

STEPHEN HARPER (Prime Minister): Sure.

YANG: (Inaudible...) So can you tell us, how is your policy towards
China different from the previous Liberal government?

STEPHEN HARPER (Prime Minister): Well Mary, I always have problems with
any, with any question that begins, how is it different that the
previous government, because after three years of the previous
government I couldn't figure out what their policy was on anything. But
I can tell you that, you know, our...

YANG: Emphasis on trade.

HARPER: Our, our policy. Well, emphasis on trade supposedly, but with
no results. I don't know what their emphasis was. Look, it's really,
you know, a two-pronged approach. We obviously want to promote trade and
investment and good economic relations with, with China, but at the same
time in a way that promotes political advancement in China and certainly
promotes Canada's values of democracy, freedom, human rights and the
rule of law. And we believe that, that those things, if we can stand
for those things and articulate those things in a way that is respectful
we can, that can ultimately be for the mutual benefit of both our

YANG: So, you would put more emphasis on human rights.

HARPER: Well, as I said, I don't know if it, I don't know if I can
compare. I don't know what the previous government really did. Jason
was on a trip and I don't think he could figure out what their policy
was. But these are important values to us in all parts of the world and
we don't, we don't want to lose those. There's been tremendous progress
in China. I mean I know that there are still lots of things we're deeply
concerned about, including, for instance, the Celil case. But all that
said, there has been in the last 20, 25 years tremendous progress and we
want to keep that progress moving on all fronts. And we believe the only
way it can move on all fronts ultimately if there can be, China realize
its full economic potential itself and with us, there also has to be
political progress as well. So, we want to continue to speak up for

YANG: So, how can you do it in a respectful way? You know, China
doesn't want people talking about their human rights record. How can you
do that, you know, facilitate your political, you know, human rights
issue without jeopardizing the trade relationship we have with China?

HARPER: Well you know, I don't, I don't see that it should. I mean I
think the government of China has been very clear that it wants to
promote strong economic growth, strong trade relationships with all
countries. Canada is not alone in wanting to see political progress in
China as well. But our, our values don't change depending on which
country we're in or which country we're doing business with. These are
our values and we believe the things we stand for...

YANG: (Inaudible).

HARPER: ...stand for are the common destiny of all people regardless of
nationality. So, that's, you know, obviously a view we'll continue to
express. But we're not there to destabilize China. We're, we're there
to work with China in the future.

YANG: But how can you make them feel that, do it in a respectful way,
that (inaudible)?

HARPER: Well, I think, I think what, my experience in dealing with
people where you have disagreements is make those disagreements plain
and don't say things that are radically different in public than what
you would say in private.

YANG: So, what is your (inaudible) concerned human rights issue in China
right now?

HARPER: Well, the, the most important issue to the government is the, is
the Celil case, the case of the Canadian citizen held in detention.
There has been...

YANG: You mean the one in Toronto, right?

HARPER: From Toronto, yeah. Government officials have been in repeated
contact with their Chinese counterparts. China has responded to our,
our concerns. We continue to maintain this is a Canadian citizen. Even
according to Chinese law this is a Canadian citizen and, and he should
be treated accordingly. So, obviously we have a difficulty there.

YANG: So, how would you find the relationship between Canada and China
now? (Inaudible...)?

HARPER: I never knew, you know, as I say I'm always reluctant to define
anything in comparison to the previous government because I know Mr.
Martin said that, but I never knew what it meant and I never knew what
he meant by it. I think I defined, I just told you what the kind of the
relationship is we want to have. We have a growing trade relationship
and our business community wants that relationship to grow and we want
to see China make political progress as well to help solidify the rule
of law and its capacity as a source of, as a receptacle of Canadian
investment. I meet President Hu very briefly at the G8 and am looking
forward to spending a bit more time with him at the APEC Summit.

YANG: So, a one-China policy is still your government's policy.

HARPER: Yes. We believe strongly that China is one nation. At the same
time we're aware, obviously, we all know there's a democratic government
on the island of Taiwan and our strong view is that, that de facto
reunification should only occur through democratic and peaceful means
and we've been consistent on that.

YANG: Do you know that the Chinese are still concerned about the Taiwan
Relations Act (inaudible). So, how is your relationship with Taiwan,
the government's relationship (inaudible)?

HARPER: Well, we have, we have no formal relations with Taiwan, as you
know. We have, we recognize one China. We have formal relations with
the People's Republic of China. There are contacts with Taiwanese
officials for limited purposes, as is long the case. Our government
hasn't altered that. And you know, as I say, we continue to believe
that, that China should eventually be unified on a peaceful and
democratic basis.

YANG: Would you support Taiwan joining international organizations?

HARPER: Only when, only when there is, only when there is some good
relevance or reasons for that. We've, we've been concerned that Taiwan
have some role at the World Health Organization because we believe
that's critical for the international health issues we're dealing with.
But we don't want to extend de facto recognition to, to the Taiwanese
government. We believe it is an integral part of China.

UNIDENTIFIED: Four minutes left (inaudible).

YANG: So, how has, about the head tax. So, we know that you told a very
personal story. How has it touched you?

HARPER: Well, you know, the stories touched us in various ways. I think
probably the most touching was sitting down with some of the head
taxpayers and their families here in the Lower Mainland and really
hearing the stories and understanding the effects that the head tax had
on those people. There was a personal connection in the room the day we
did it here because one of the individuals grew up in the same town as
my dad and my uncle. And obviously I relayed the story last night on my
wife's side of the family about Mr. Yip. And you know, we know from,
from that story and from the other stories that have been (inaudible) to
Jason and the rest of us that, you know, not all people were that lucky.
A lot of people, you know, ultimately perished during the Great
Depression, during that period because of the obstacles they faced. But
you know, I'd say it's been, apologizing for the head tax and moving
beyond that is one of the great satisfactions I've had in this job.
It's, it's very rare, you know, in spite of all the power you have, it's
very rare that you can literally get up one morning and go and do
something that makes a difference in people's lives and in particular in
this case, makes a difference in the relationship the whole community
has with the country. And I do believe that through Jason's efforts,
Bev Oda's efforts, us being able to do that, we've really gone a long
way. We'll never change history. We'll never change the terrible things
that happened. We've gone a long way to closing the divide that still
did exist in many parts of the Chinese community in terms of their,
their comfort and their belonging, feeling of belonging to the country.
And it was a great, you know, it was a great feeling to be able to do

YANG: So, having the sort of personal story of Mr. Yip, so would that
change your concept towards redress because I know (inaudible) is giving
you a lot of (inaudible) reconsider?

HARPER: I think, I think the different...

YANG: Descendents' redress

HARPER: Well, I think the, I think the difference with, you know, my
wife's, my father-in-law's experience and wife's experience with Mr. Yip
and as I say some of the other stories is that as you understand - as
you know some Canadians don't - that this isn't just history. It's very
personal, that it, it had a real impact, not just on individuals, but on
a whole community and their relationship with the country. It gave you
a true sense of what he head tax and to a lesser degree, the Exclusion
Act really, really did mean and the problems it created. In terms of
the descendents' redress, Jason and Bev, you know, went around the
country, talked extensively to people. As you know, the community is
very divided on that. We ultimately concluded as a government that
recognizing head taxpayers and spouses is clear. The problem with
descendants is there was no way of getting a clear and clean definition
of where that should begin and end. So, we felt in the end the most
appropriate thing was to recognize the head taxpayers and their spouses
and then to provide acknowledgement to the community at large through
other initiatives rather than through specific redress to individuals.

YANG: So it's no.

HARPER: No, no.

YANG: So, we know that you have been trying hard to reach out to the
Chinese community. So, is the Chinese vote your key to forming a
majority government (inaudible)?

HARPER: You know, I don't know that it's that simple. People keep
asking me what our strategy is for a majority government. You know, we
hope to gain votes in every part of the country and in every community.
I'm not sure we have, you know, figured out it's this group or that
group that will make the difference. I believe just governing well,
governing competently, governing honestly and doing the things we said
we would do, that that's really the key to winning the next election.
And I've told my ministers and our caucus, don't worry about winning the
next election. Just worry about running the government and doing a good
job of it and we'll be a long way towards winning the next election.

YANG: Then why are you so anxious to return to the Chinese community
when you're in government (inaudible)?

HARPER: Well, the Chinese community is a huge part of this country. You
know, it's, what is it, over a million people of Chinese descent? I
mean this is a huge part of the country and you know, and it continues
to be a distinctive part of the country. I don't want to say you can
only meet Chinese people at Chinese events. That's not true. But, but
there's a large part of the community that, you know, it's far easier to
meet at distinctly Chinese community events than through my general

UNIDENTIFED: One last question.

YANG: How will you consolidate your support among the Chinese community
or maybe increase it after this (inaudible)?

HARPER: Well, you know, I think, I think the, the secret with, you know,
with so many groups, with so many provinces, so many regions or
provinces or particular cultural communities or professions, I always
tell our people the secret is to make sure they're aware of what the
government is doing generally. Often, you know, I've said this
repeatedly. Often politicians will go to events of the Chinese
community or some other cultural group and they talk about immigration,
multiculturalism, relations with the home country. But the fact of the
matter is our experience is that Chinese-Canadians or Canadians in
cultural groups are equally concerned about tax policy, crime policy,
social policy, health policy, security. They have, you know, many of the
same concerns as everyone else. So, what we try and do is make sure we
emphasize, when we're in cultural communities, is that we communicate
what the government's doing on all the major issues, not just the niche
issues of the community in question.

YANG: Great. Thanks a lot for the time Prime Minister.

HARPER: Thank you Mary. I appreciate it.

YANG: Thanks a lot. Thanks for your time.

HARPER: Thank you.

31-10-06, 09:57
not very clear interview heh! Nothing is curtain what he said.