By coauthors Pierre Jasmin, Artistes pour la Paix and David Millar, ex-history professor, filmmaker, union organizer, oral historian, eco-agitator.
1. Does China deserve our hostility?
July will mark the 100th anniversary of the Communist Chinese Party founding by Mao Zedong. President Xi Jinping now has as much, if not more power, than Mao at the time. In front of such dictatorial command, it is perfectly reasonable to worry about
- human rights violated in Xinjiang, Tibet and Hong Kong,
- China’s view that Taiwan is a deviant province, hence its militarization in the China Sea,
- its support of Myanmar’s military dictators, with their bloody repression of muslim Rohingyas and pro-democracy demonstrators.
But the research for this article demonstrated that if China can be incredibly ruthless against its own population[i], it remains until now a non-imperialist peaceful great power, hardly deserving the diatribes of Justin Trudeau, who should learn from the love of China by his father and brother Sacha.
Instead of joining anti-China Trump and QAnon rhetorics, why don’t Canada’s parliament and Trudeau listen to Pope Francis who, while in Iraq praying with Islamic leaders, called for an end to hate speeches, which always seek and blame “enemies”? He said: “From where, then, can the journey of peace begin? From the decision not to have enemies”.
2. Joining United Nations’ WHO and peacekeepers instead
Biodiversity loss is proven, extinction threats still rising (IPBES global report to the UN, 2019)
The probable origin of COVID-19: bats’ blood mixed with “the delicate flesh of the pangolin prized by Chinese and Vietnamese gourmets, as are its bones, scales and organs by traditional Asian medicine.”
See Jasmin’s one-year old article[ii].
a) Shouldn’t we peacefully cooperate with China? Having closely collaborated with the World Health Organization to control the pandemic, this great power seems to have done a great job that we all could learn from, while we suffer from a severe third wave of COVID-19. Because the root of the pandemics’ problem is not “kung flu”, but a problem shared by all “civilized” humanity, responsible for the pressure on world biodiversity. China and Canada should both listen to the UN call for “transformative change” that avoids “eroding the very foundations of our economies, livelihoods, food security, health and quality of life around the world”. Ignored by most countries, this vital warning was contained in the landmark 2019 report of the Intergovernmental Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES), written by 145 scientists from 50 countries, with additional contributions from 310 other experts. A million species are at need of protection, at risk of extinction — their ecosystems invaded by “development”, aka Business as Usual. Conventional economics ignore natural and social impacts as “externalities” not even to be considered in their models; an unpolluted environment is a “luxury good”.[iii] For the high priests of Wall Street, it’s an easy cop-out to accuse China, where apparently COVID-19 began, of violating biodiversity — while ignoring the U.N. numerous documents about the bigger negative impacts by rich countries.
b) The Economist and other rightwing media are ramping up Western propaganda against UN peacekeepers (because they are unarmed and do not need the military-industrial-mediatic-university complex?). We raised alarm with our review of a book coauthored by New York resident Romuald Sciora[iv], the only person to have had the opportunity to meet all the UN Secretaries-General from Kurt Waldheim to Ban Ki-moon. On the other hand, head of the International Crisis Group’s diplomatic liaison and advocacy at the UN in New York, Richard Gowan demonstrated in a nuanced article[v] that China is committed to peacekeeping, for example in Sudan, a small but positive involvement which US and Canadian officials disparage.
Trudeau has shamefully reduced his contributions to the UN peacekeeping force to a few police units. According to the UN 2020 31st of August list, China is in 9th place for the number of UN peacekeepers, while USA are 78th and Canada scandalously 76th: what a proud way to commemorate Peace Nobel Prize Canadian winner Lester B. Pearson who started the idea in Suez. Fortunately, Walter Dorn (World Federalists), Peggy Mason (Rideau Institute) and Roy Culpeper (Group of 78) are responding to these attacks against peacekeepers with facts and articles that demonstrate their necessity.
3. Trains, access to water for First Nations, military expenses and refugees
Trudeau, who has scandalously cut Canada’s contribution to the Blue Helmets, is not listening. He’s breaching nine U.N policies[vi] and prefers to listen to war-mongering NATO[vii]. He should remember[viii] 94-year-old Jimmy Carter, who two years ago, on April 5, 2019, told his Sunday School in Georgia about his conversation with Donald Trump who was concerned that China was getting ahead of the United States: “It’s true, and do you know why? I normalized our diplomatic relations with Beijing forty years ago. Since 1979, do you know how many times China has been at war with anyone? Not a single time. And we have stayed at war. The United States is the most warlike nation in the history of the world, because we tend to impose our American values on other countries. China, on the other hand, invests its resources in its infrastructure such as high-speed railroads that cover 18,000 miles[ix]. How many miles do we have? “None,” the congregation replied. “We have wasted $3 trillion on military spending. China hasn’t wasted a cent on war, and that’s why they’re ahead of us in almost every way. And if we had taken $3 trillion and put it into American infrastructure, we’d have a high-speed railroad. We’d have bridges that don’t collapse. We’d have properly maintained roads. We would have an education system as good as South Korea’s or Hong Kong’s.”[x] [Carter did not mention a health care system as good as Canada’s. He did not specifically mention the 600 American military bases outside the US, while China is building its only one in Djibouti].
Back here in Canada, a Quebec City-Windsor electric ecotrain would be “too expensive” at $20 billion, Trudeau declared in 2016. In a country blessed with one of the four greatest drinking water reserves in the world, Canada still fails to provide it for all of our First Nations, while a much poorer country like China has achieved it for its 1400 million inhabitants. But throwing $100 billion into Irving/Lockheed Martin warships and fighter-bombers? Perfectly acceptable, says War Minister Harjit Sajjan, rejecting Artists for Peace call to cut his aggressive arms-buying budget and transform it in better aid for populations besieged with catastrophic climatic disturbances and pandemics. In the replacement ceremony of general De Chastelain (who went to Northern Ireland to apply his great diplomatic skills to solve the war between IRA and unionist Peasley), General Rick Hillier, enthroned by Stephen Harper, had claimed his satisfaction to renew the Canadian Royal Forces’ fundamental mission: “our job is to kill people: let’s kill those Afghan scumbags”. Maybe Hillier was referring to De Chastelain’s refusal to let his soldiers shoot the Kanesatakeh 1990 Mohawk warriors? APLP president Daniel-Jean Primeau asked for its ejection[xi], which alas came after the career ascension of fellow killer Russell Williams. Hillier just got expelled for his incompetent handling (at 20 000$ a month) of the Ontario vaccination program.
And Canada sells weapons — like the ones we export to Saudi Arabia – that multiply war refugees, as in General Charlie Bouchard’s 2011 airborne attack on Libya, refugees who inflame a racist right-wing backlash in Europe and in north America. Our federal MPs mutely approve[xii] the aggressive military spending of a sexist minister who seems unable to name a chief of staff not involved in sexual intimidation. Meanwhile, the UN High Commissioner for (war and climate) Refugees estimates that 80 million people, including Uighurs, still desperately need help (Pierre gave $200. And Ottawa?)
4. Armies’ thirst for petroleum
The oil industry and its leaky pipelines strongly encourage the waste denounced by Valérie Dufour (Journal de Montréal, November 2008): “It costs up to $41,629 per hour (in 2020, around $60 000) in fuel, spare parts, maintenance, depreciation, technical support and military aircraft and helicopters of the Department of National Defence (DND). It’s no surprise that CF18 fighters are the most expensive aircraft.” The acrobatic flights that took place in Trenton, Ontario on June 24 and 25 with the Snow Birds, with American C747s and B752s, and on Canada Day in Ottawa on July 1st, without mentioning the high probability of accidents with deadly consequences (like in Cold Lake, Alberta), swallow millions of gallons of expensive and polluting kerosene.
The oil and gas industry received $1.9 billion in subsidies from the Trudeau government in 2020 (200% more than in 2019) at odds with the declared federal carbon price policy; moreover, the subsidies are in complete contradiction with President Biden’s new fossil fuel policy in the United States. Source: International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD).
In 2018, journalist Bruce Livesey wrote in The Guardian: “Trudeau’s nationalization of Kinder Morgan mirrors his fierce desire to build the pipeline at any cost – $12.6 billion [and rising]”. It creates no refinery jobs – the heart of oil patch employment, taking the brunt of current layoffs. It will export instead Canadian crude to the United States and China, with almost no benefit to the Canadian workers. But the biggest cost to Canada is that – due to tarsands – we will massively miss our COP21 target to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, 30% by 2030. What on earth was Trudeau thinking? Was he hamstrung by the Canada-China Foreign Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement (FIPA), negotiated by Harper’s Tories without a Parliamentary vote, in force until 2045 (the UN objects to such secret investment deals, enforced by multinationals outside global law)? FIPA guarantees China an Alberta-British Columbia pipeline as a “reward” for its heavy investments in the oil sands, because in 2009, China took up 60% of 2 tarsands projects; in 2013, China National Offshore Oil Corporation (CNOOC) bought controlling interest in the third biggest oil company of Canada, NEXEN, at a cost of 15.1 billion![xiii]
Amazing that Tories are leading the Commons in attacks against China with Michael Chong. And when China forbids him entrance in China, Trudeau screams that this is an attack against Canada’s democracy. In the Uyghur issue, Foreign Affairs shadow minister Michael Chong’s motion accused China of “genocide” (why not ethnocide?), forced labour and cultural repression in Sinkiang.[xiv] China riposts that the Silk Road railway will grow the Xinjiang economy [reminiscent of Sir John A Macdonald’s racist nation-building – the CPR and the Indian Act – and François Legault’s pet LNG-Saguenay project fortunately torpedoed this week by the Quebec Bureau d’Audiences Publiques en Environnement]. Uyghurs’ voice is ignored by all sides (impossible to conduct a fair survey outside propagandas). China’s supreme praesidium consists of a thousand males in black business suits, where women and native peoples are scarcely to be seen. Grits, Tories, CAQ and Xi’s “socialism with Chinese characteristics” are strongly united in calling for Business as Usual.
5. Nuclear weapons
Aside the fact that Trudeau, by fear of NATO, refused to join the UN Prohibition Treaty supported by 130 countries[xv], this subject of nuclear weapons is of course a match between US more than 6000 bombs and China around 300.
Of the nine countries that brandish nuclear weapons, China has adopted by far the most measured policy. I wrote this crucial information during a pro-Chinese webinar followed by 400 spectators organized by World Beyond War and Hamilton Stop the War Coalition on March 1st. I was able to consult the brief of retired professor Zhenqiang Pan of the Institute for Strategic Studies (Beijing), reaffirming his country’s commitment never to use nuclear weapons first, which goes beyond the Russian or North Korean commitment (and of course against the American aggressive stand, despite new pressure being applied on Biden). China uses the words “under no circumstances, absolutely, unconditionally and crystal clear, its nuclear bombs play only a defensive role against any nuclear attack against it.” To make a clear difference with NATO and Russia, which are constantly raising the nuclear threat and have engaged in the past in a paranoid bidding war of up to 70,000 bombs, China is the country that targets the smallest number of global cities. China has conducted the fewest tests among the five permanent powers of the Security Council : it is worth mentioning, though, that in the sixties and seventies, those tests were conducted in the deserts of the strategic Xinjiang province.
China does not develop any tactical nuclear bombs, which it considers a potential battlefield weapon. It separates its nuclear weapons policy from any strategic military plan and keeps its nuclear warheads away from its intercontinental ballistic missiles, unlike the eight other bomb-equipped countries which have more than a thousand bombs currently placed on launch-on-warning alert, applying the theory of mutual assured destruction, summarized under the acronym MAD. It seems a right conclusion to recall again that Canada has refused joining the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons.
Conclusion : sinophobia
If Michael Chong and Justin Trudeau’s diatribes were only there to warn China not to stampede Hong Kong and Taiwan, they could have been useful. Problem is that they are nurturing sinophobia, highly problematic from a Prime minister and from our national CBC/Radio-Canada/RDI network antagonizing our own Chinese community with comments bordering on racism against their fatherland.
The crisis: 8 dead from a massive shooting in Asiatic massage parlors in Atlanta, 7 québécoises dead of domestic violence in the last 6 weeks, capping a yearlong rise of racial slurs, personal attacks, vandalism in Montreal’s Chinatown with the precarious status of Asian immigrants, well defended by the anti-imperialist Women of diverse origins. “This march is a historical duty,” claimed Cathy Wong, a Montreal city councilor; Montreal’s first anti-racism commissioner Bochra Manaï emphasized systemic racism, a concept still refused by Benoît Charette, the CAQ minister for anti-racism who was present at the demo.
[i] But inside, what a bloody and oppressive history, from the very beginning when it killed “class enemies” (up to 10% of the population?), then its own members in the Great Leap Forward (10 times more than Stalin’s Holodomor in Ukraine?), in the Cultural Revolution and in the Tien An Men massacre of thousands of peaceful students. Add to that, continuous repression against religions professed by ethnic minorities: sale of organs removed from Falun Gong prisoners and current slave labour in lao gai (Tibet and Xinjiang).
[iii] Failures of conventional economics, cited by Hermann Daly, Ecological Economics (2004): “a finite planet” p.62-63, “externalities” pp.175-180
[iv] https://lautjournal.info/20190308/qui-veut-la-mort-de-lonu and 75 ans de l’ONU: tiers-état en action et COVID-19 – Les Artistes pour la Paix
[ix] Currently 37,900 km, more than 80 percent of the world’s total : https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/High-speed_rail_in_China
[x] Newsweek 4/15/19: https://www.newsweek.com/donald-trump-jimmy-carter-china-war-infrastructure-economy-trade-war-church-1396086
[xii] Trained seals, Trudeau père used to call them, before he joined the Liberal party.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/CNOOC_Petroleum_North_America_ULC on its NEXEN acquisition.
[xvi] https://www.ledevoir.com/societe/597339/des-centaines-de-personnes-marchent-contre-le-racisme-anti-asiatique Groupe d’entraide contre le racisme envers les Asiatiques et Chinois progressistes du Québec.
[Header photo by Sam Beasley on Unsplash]