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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?"

Of free speech and things best left unsaid when visiting China

December 7, 2009

Rod Mickleburgh, The Globe and Mail

Published on Thursday, Dec. 03, 2009 11:37PM EST

So Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao has publicly scolded Prime Minister
Stephen Harper for taking his time to ring the doorbell of the People's
Republic of China, where they can displace a million people to build
lavish white elephants for the Olympics and no one says ?boo.? Or
rather, if you did say boo, you wound up in jail.

?Nearly five years? is too long between visits by a Canadian prime
minister, Mr. Wen told stony-faced Steve.

That may be, Mr. Harper could have replied, but I think 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.

Mr. Harper might have said all those things. But he didn't. Pity.
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