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Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and China’s Premier Li Keqiang prepare to leave at the end of a joint press conference at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on Wednesday, Aug. 31, 2016. ( (Mark Schiefelbein/AP)
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and China’s Premier Li Keqiang prepare to leave at the end of a joint press conference at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on Wednesday, Aug. 31, 2016. ( (Mark Schiefelbein/AP)

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Sept. 2: China smarts. Plus other letters to the editor Add to ...

Letters to the Editor should be exclusive to The Globe and Mail. Include your name, address and daytime phone number. Try to keep letters to fewer than 150 words. Letters may be edited for length and clarity. To submit a letter by e-mail, click here: letters@globeandmail.com

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China smarts

Re Canadian Envoy Bluntly Critical Of China On Human Rights (Sept. 1): If, as Amnesty International’s Alex Neve says, a trade relationship between our two nations cannot ignore the issue of human rights, it will be extremely difficult to build a comprehensive partnership with China.

It is telling that the official news agency Xinhua states that is “foolish to spoil China-Canada ties with these domestic concerns.” Canadian attitudes regarding China’s social policies are routinely described as “prejudice and arrogance.”

While the sideshow of heady optimism snowballs ahead, Ambassador Guy Saint-Jacques sees our two countries as being far from sitting down for serious negotiations. In the domain of justice and human rights, England and all its children leaped ahead of China in 1215 with the Magna Carta. Until China has its Runnymede, there can be no true understanding between us. Our culturally embedded values are polar opposites.

Hugh McKechnie, Newmarket, Ont.

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There is an entirely better way to do human rights with China:

1) When you go to China, you make deals, mostly commercial. We have some influence, not much, but some when it comes to deal-making;

2) Opportunities do exist to do good work in China. You recognize, however, that you can’t do it by offending and humiliating China’s leadership. So you do it confidentially and you tell Canadians that, for obvious reasons (we’re not fools), you can’t discuss our efforts in the “realm” of human rights;

3) You make it part of the commercial deal that a certain human benefit, for one person, be granted out of China’s interest in getting a good deal. You guarantee confidentiality;

4) You come back and shut up about what you exacted in the area of human rights. Boast all you want about the canola;

5) Over time, China will learn to offer such human benefits without us asking, and we will have started to do some deep good.

We are a small country but we, too, have committed major sins during our very short history – to put it delicately. They know it.

We have canola as well as conscience, and some smarts. Let’s use it all well.

Even one person aided by careful diplomacy is no mean feat.

Peter March, Halifax

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The authoritarian government of China viciously represses all dissent (this is not an exaggeration), and gives the finger to an international tribunal ruling that concludes it has no historic right to a large swath of the South China Sea.

The rule of law – forgetaboutit! And this often applies, for the Chinese leadership, to international disputes and trade agreements as well as the rights of Tibetans, Uyghurs, Falun Gong practitioners and democracy advocates.

Lawyers, journalists and human rights defenders are thrown in jail while corrupt cadres of the CCP go scot-free with their billions in bribes.

There is no safe balance point in dealing with an inherently brutal, corrupt regime.

It’s like a black bear in the woods – best keep your distance.

Michael Craig, chair, China Rights Network, Toronto

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Carbon credit protest

The deal between the Ontario, Quebec and Mexican governments to purchase carbon offsets was made despite the strong objections of Mexico’s indigenous people, who are adamantly opposed to selling carbon credits (Provinces Sign Greenhouse Gas Agreement With Mexico – Report on Business, Sept. 1).

For them, turning the carbon-absorption capacity of their forests into a commodity to be bought and sold violates the sacredness of Mother Earth.

California has been heavily criticized for letting its industries purchase credits from projects in Mexico without the free, prior and informed consent of the indigenous peoples affected.

While Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne says the goal of an international carbon market is to cut the cost of greenhouse gas reductions, this must not come at the cost of violating indigenous rights.

John Dillon, KAIROS, Ecological Justice Program Co-ordinator

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Superhero rescue?

Re Justin Trudeau Debuts On Marvel Cover With Canadian Superheroes, Iron Man (Aug. 31): Perhaps our Prime Minister could take some of those superhero skills of his and apply them to helping rescue our plummeting economy.

Those of us working McJobs to pay our tuition bills while we’re trying to land real work find the frightening news that Canada has just posted its worst quarter since the Great Recession really, really discouraging.

But then, superhero prime ministers don’t spend their days asking, “Would you like fries with that?”

Dana Gordon, Calgary

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Gender on campus

Re Brock President’s Exit May Raise Broader Stability, Gender Issues (Sept. 1): Gender bias in 2016 is unacceptable – something which Justin Trudeau emphasized in ensuring gender parity in his cabinet.

What message does the exit of Wendy Cukier, a respected professor and advocate, send to the thousands of young women attending Brock and other Canadian universities?

Even if the choice to withdraw was made by Ms. Cukier, what does this say about the university environment for women?

And by extension, the corporate world for which many of them are preparing?

Monica Cullum, Ottawa

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The Donald’s wall

Re Trump, Pena Nieto Talk Border Safety (Sept. 1): At the same time that Donald Trump proclaimed the wall he proposes on the southern border of the United States would be the best wall ever built – including high-tech sensors above and below ground – he also indicated he would support hiring 5,000 more border patrol officers.

To put the wall in a business context, with the need for all that additional staff it can’t be much of a barrier to entry.

More likely, it’s a highly subsidized make-work project of indefinite length.

Tim Zahavich, Oakville, Ont.

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A (German) name

The discussion this week about Berlin, Ont., becoming Kitchener in 1916 reminded me of a story that the late Ron Collister, then Ottawa bureau chief of the old Toronto Telegram, told me about an informal chat he had with then prime minister John Diefenbaker.

The Chief, looking back at his childhood in southwestern Ontario before the family moved to Saskatchewan, recalled the anti-German, pro-British sentiment and bullying he and his brother suffered because of their German name. Ron said the punchline that Mr. Diefenbaker delivered, jowls rolling, was, “And they made us play cricket!”

Bill Boyd, Lakefield, Ont.

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