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Forum – Canada & China: Vision of Our Shared Future

Every Saturday we meet to discuss a topic decided upon the previous week. These are topics of humanist interest, from a humanist perspective. This week’s topic is, “Canada & China – Vision of Our Shared Future” by HAT Member, Ryan Zhang with Kirsten Brawn, Katelyn Strauss, and Richard Dowsett. Join us, won’t you?
The People’s Republic of China (PRC) has the second largest economy in the world and is currently looking to expand its global influence. Many think that the PRC could become a potential superpower. The PRC is a one-party state ruled by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). The CCP governs in a way that is antithetical to the values that we Canadians hold dear. These values include freedom of expression, democracy, and rule of law. All of these are either extremely curtailed or non-existent in the PRC.

The current relationship between the PRC and Canada is strained. This is shown by the results of a May 2020 poll from the Angus Reid Institute showing that about 81% of Canadians have an unfavorable view of China. Factors that could have contributed to this negative perception include the CCP’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic, the heavy-handedness with which the CCP has dealt with the recent protests in Hong Kong, and the imprisonment of Canadian citizens Michael Spavor and Michael Kovrig (a.k.a. the two Michaels) in retaliation for the arrest of Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou by Canada in response to an extradition request by the U.S. The Minister of Defence, Harjit Sajjan, described the imprisonment of the two Michaels as “hostage diplomacy”. The role of Huawei in Canada, especially with regards to its involvement in building our 5G infrastructure is also being heavily scrutinized given the potential for the CCP to be able to spy on Canadians through Huawei.

Meanwhile, Chinese Canadians have become targets of increasing levels of racism. In a June 2020 survey of 500 Chinese Canadians by Angus Reid, 50 % of those surveyed “report being called names or insulted” as a direct result of the COVID-19 outbreak and 43% say they have been threatened or intimidated”. It is important to keep in mind that this country has a long history of racism against Chinese people – The Head Tax (1885 to 1923), the Immigration Ban (1923 to 1947), no full citizenship rights until 1947, including the right to vote.

Keeping in mind both the past and current treatment of Chinese Canadians and the CCP’s recent behavior towards Canada: how can Canada stand up to threats posed by the CCP in a way that will not marginalize Chinese Canadians?

The CCP has tried to argue that being anti-China is equivalent to being anti-Chinese. How much truth is there in such an argument? How much does race contribute to this situation?

Former US Secretary of State, Henry Kissinger commented that: “President-elect Joe Biden should move quickly to restore a relationship with China or risk a crisis that could escalate into military conflict. Unless there is some form of cooperative action the world will slide into a catastrophe comparable with World War One”. Do you agree?
Bob Rae, Canada’s UN Ambassador, told the UN that treatment of the Uyhgur people is a genocide conducted through birth control and sterilizations. China says it is running a voluntary employment and language-training program in Xinjiang. How does the truth of this situations influence Canada’s approach to China?

Meet our diverse group, trade perspectives in a free and open forum and learn from others as they learn from you!

BTW: don’t be concerned if there are not many RSVP’s. Many HAT members attend regularly but don’t sign up on Meetup. Our online meetings have been very popular with 20-30 attendees.

NOTE: The HAT Forum adheres strictly to the City of Toronto Policy on Non-Discrimination (

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