Thursday, June 9, 2016

Our Gang: Ontario minister Michael Chan defends China’s human-rights record

Days after China’s Foreign Minister berated a Canadian reporter for questioning his country’s troubled human-rights record, an Ontario Crown minister defended it.

Michael Chan, the province’s minister of Citizenship, Immigration and International Trade, weighed in on the flap Monday, arguing in a Chinese-language column that the authoritarian country should also be seen through the perspective of “basic livelihood.”

“The inner meaning of human rights is very broad, but the right to survival and a basic livelihood are important components of human rights,” he tells an unidentified journalist for a blog on the popular Chinese-language website and Mr. Chan’s official WeChat page.

The blog begins with the mention of Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi’s controversial press conference in Ottawa last week with his Canadian counterpart, Stéphane Dion. “[Mr. Wang] touched on the issue of human rights and his response led to commentary from all quarters,” a scribe writes. “A journalist interviewed Michael Chan about this, inviting him to share his views on the matter.”

Rather than asking the same questions about where human rights are now, Mr. Chan suggests it is better to examine how they’ve evolved in the past 40 years.  (more...)


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