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"Canada can, within a positive friendly atmosphere, ask the Chinese government to resolve the Tibetan situation."

Harper's not for kowtowing

December 7, 2009

Norman Spector, The Globe and Mail, Canada
Friday, December 4, 2009 8:53 AM

China?s ambush of the Prime Minister yesterday provoked a feeding frenzy
among Harper-haters not seen since the opposition parties hatched their
plan to remove him from office without having to bother with an
election. However, I suspect that most Canadians will again support the
way he handled the situation, and that support will grow over time as
the dividends of his visit to China come home.

Placed in a difficult situation, Mr. Harper could have responded, as a
former Globe and Mail China correspondent wishes he had, ?60 years is
too long to wait for human rights in China, 50 years is too long for the
Dalai Lama to remain in exile, 20 years is too long for Chinese leaders
to remain silent about the terrible bloodshed at Tiananmen Square, and
three years in prison is three years too many for the courageous Hu Jia,
who had the audacity to post an anti-Olympics petition on the Internet.?

However, despite being caught unawares on camera, Mr. Harper took the
unprecedented public remonstration coolly. And, by noting that visiting
was a two-way street, he injected just the right comeback to safeguard
the overriding objective of strengthening the relationship while
preserving Canada?s national honour, which, as Andrew Coyne observes,
was the real target of Mr. Wen?s intervention.

We already knew that Mr. Harper does not do the kind of humiliating deep
bow that President Barack Obama did when meeting Japan?s Emperor. Now,
after his meeting with Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao, we also know that our
Prime Minister is not inclined to kowtow to the leaders of powerful
nations. All of which bodes well for our national interests at the
Copenhagen climate-change conference, where another ambush of Canada and
the Prime Minister has been set up. And where another feeding frenzy
among Harper-haters can be anticipated as reports from Denmark filter
home about who?s to blame for the failure to agree on a new
international treaty.
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