Canada Cuts 3 Projects in China : ‘Business as Usual’ Unacceptable After Crackdown, Aide Says

From Reuters

Canada announced today that it is withdrawing from three Chinese development projects and taking other measures to protest the crackdown against pro-democracy demonstrators by the Beijing government.

“The Chinese authorities have called for ‘business as usual'--this cannot be accepted,” External Affairs Minister Joe Clark told reporters.

But Clark said the government will not cut off all diplomatic and business ties for fear of isolating China in the international community.


As part of the measures, Clark said Canada will continue to ban high-level diplomatic contacts with the Chinese government.

Will Continue Protest

He said Canada will continue to seek action to protest the crackdown through U.N. agencies, particularly the Commission on Human Rights.

“The benefit of a certain amount of international unison makes it particularly important to stay in touch with our friends and allies in the weeks and months to come,” Clark said.

Canada will be using the Paris economic summit to discuss with other countries what actions can be taken against China.

Canada will withdraw support for three projects worth a total of $9.1 million--a state auditor training center, a plant to upgrade the quality of lubricating oil and an urban traffic management center.

In addition, Canada will keep on hold four of five agreements for which signings were postponed immediately after the military attacks on demonstrators around Tian An Men Square this month. And Ottawa will suspend feasibility studies being conducted by Canadian companies for the huge Three Gorges dam project.

Canada, an outspoken critic of the Chinese government since the crackdown, previously announced it was withdrawing its ambassador in Beijing for consultations. It also extended visas by one year for about 4,000 Chinese students living in Canada.

Clark said he wanted these students to choose on their own whether they want to return to their home country. “We are simply saying to them, ‘You are welcome here.’ ”

Canada will also be “downgrading” Canada’s trade representation in Beijing “in response to the changed circumstances and in anticipation of an expected downturn in trade activity,” Clark said.