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"As long as human rights are violated, there can be no foundation for peace. How can peace grow where speaking the truth is itself a crime?"

Canada last major country left on China's tourism blacklist

December 14, 2007

Millions of tourism dollars to flow into U.S. after Beijing agrees to
drop restrictions

Aileen McCabe,  CanWest News Service
Financial Post
Wednesday, December 12, 2007

SHANGHAI -- After years of negotiations, China has agreed to allow
tourists to visit the United States, leaving Canada as the last major
country closed to Chinese tour groups.

The deal potentially means millions of tourist dollars will be flowing
into U.S. coffers starting this spring.

China's quickly growing middle class is Asia's largest out-bound tourist
market and likely the largest untapped tourist trove for both the United
States and Canada.

The U.S. will now be able to advertise its tourist hot spots in China
and actively court Chinese tourist dollars.

China now has 134 countries on it "Approved Destination List," according
to the official China Daily, but Canada is not one of them.

Former Prime Minister Paul Martin's Liberal government reached an
agreement in principle with China in 2005 to open the way to Chinese
tourism, but final approval was never granted in Beijing.

It means advertising skiing in Banff or sightseeing in Vancouver is not
allowed in China.

No reason has ever been given for the Chinese hesitancy to proceed with
the Canadian agreement, but relations between the Harper government and
China got off to a rocky start and have not improved recently, so it is
unlikely a breakthrough is close.

The problems started with Prime Minister Stephen Harper's sharp public
criticism of China's human rights record and have been exacerbated
lately by his decision to "officially" meet with the Dalai Lama, the
Tibetan holy man the Chinese describe as a separatist.

Until now, China has only allowed its citizens to travel to the U.S. on
business visas or to visit specific family and friends, but not to
simply visit Las Vegas or the Grand Canyon. Those kind of restrictions
remain in place for Chinese visiting Canada.
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