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Prime Minister Stephen Harper inspects the honour guard with Wen Jiabao, Premier of the Peolpe's Republic of China, in the Great Hall of the People in Beijing.

Sean Kilpatrick

Click the photo for an interactive version of the timeline:

December, 2009: On the eve of Prime Minister Stephen Harper's visit to China, the government criticizes Canada for a major tariff increase on Chinese steel. Canada increased the tariff 182 per cent after saying the steel was subsidized or dumped on the Canadian market.

May, 2009: China bans all imports of Alberta pork after swine flu is found among pigs in that province.

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May, 2009: Foreign Minister Lawrence Cannon says Canadians must recognize China has "made progress" on human rights.

September, 2008: Accused fraudster Deng Xinzhi is deported to China from Canada to face charges of fraud. It is seen as a historic case, following years of China claiming Canada is a haven for Chinese criminals seeking refugee status.

April, 2008: Mr. Harper says he will not attend the opening ceremonies of the 2008 Olympic games in Beijing, a decision that is interpreted as a snub.

January, 2008: Canada threatens to take China to the World Trade Organization for refusing to negotiate over a tourism deal with Canadian businesses, even though China has similar deals with 138 other countries.

2007: Canadian exports to China total $9.5-billion, which is 2 per cent of all exports. Chinese exports to Canada total $38.3-billion, or 3 per cent of the country's exports.

October, 2007: Mr. Harper meets with the Dalai Lama, angering the Chinese government. As a result, a meeting of high-level bureaucrats from both countries scheduled in Beijing, the first since Mr. Harper took office, is cancelled.

May, 2007: Foreign Minister Peter MacKay meets with new Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi, the first visit to the country by a Canadian cabinet member since 2003.

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November, 2006: Mr. Harper declares he will not "sell out" on human rights in Canada's relationship with China. The comment led China to cancel a meeting between Mr. Harper and President Hu Jintao and the Chinese government vows to oppose any "irresponsible" interference in its domestic affairs. In the end, however, Mr. Hu met with Mr. Harper.

June, 2006: Parliament confers honorary Canadian citizenship on the Dalai Lama, the Tibetan spiritual leader.

June, 2006: Mr. Harper offers an apology for the punitive head tax imposed on Chinese-Canadian immigrants between 1885 and 1923.

September, 2005: Mr. Hu visits Canada to push an expansion in trade between the two countries. Prime Minister Paul Martin raises concerns about human rights issues.

January, 2005: Mr. Martin arrives in China to sign a series of economic deals.

October, 2003: In Prime Minister Jean Chrétien's sixth and final visit to China, the two countries sign agreements to co-operate more closely on issues including trade, the environment and agriculture.

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February, 2001: In the largest trade mission in Canadian history, Team Canada visits Beijing, Shanghai and Hong Kong. Mr. Chrétien is accompanied by close to 600 business participants, eight provincial premiers and three territorial leaders. Mr. Chrétien rebukes the country's Communist government for cracking down on its citizens for their religious beliefs.

April, 1999: Premier Zhu Rongji makes a week-long visit to Canada.

November, 1998: Mr. Chrétien visits China, and in a blunt speech, says Canadians are disturbed by Chinese restrictions on free expression.

November, 1996: Mr. Chrétien makes a brief visit to Shanghai to attend a Canada-China Business Council meeting. Mr. Chrétien and Premier Li Peng sign an agreement for China to purchase two Canadian-designed nuclear reactors.

October, 1995: Mr. Li makes a brief visit to Canada to attend the annual meeting of the Canada-China Business Council, marking the 25th anniversary of Canada's diplomatic recognition of China.

November, 1994: Mr. Chrétien makes his first Team Canada trade visit to China, bringing nearly 500 political and business heavyweights. The delegation is the largest of any kind to visit China since the Tiananmen Square massacre in 1989.

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May, 1992: Despite a chill in political relations due to Tiananmen, two-way trade between Canada and China is nearing the $3.7-billion record set in 1988 before the crackdown.

May, 1986: Prime Minister Brian Mulroney makes his first prime ministerial visit to China to promote trade and goodwill. He raises human rights with Premier Zhao Ziyang.

June, 1984: Parliament passes an act to create the Asia Pacific Foundation of Canada, a non-profit foundation focusing on Canada-Asia relations.

January, 1984: Mr. Zhao visits Canada, becoming the first Communist leader to address Parliament.

October, 1973: Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau becomes the first Canadian prime minister to pay an official visit to the People's Republic of China.

1971: Canada and the People's Republic of China exchange resident ambassadors.

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October, 1970: Canada establishes diplomatic relations with the People's Republic of China.

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