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meggo
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an issue that has interested me since i started learning about the dalai lama in high school... got involved with 'free tibet' stuff for awhile when i was in university... anyway still hoping for change for the tibetan people!

and i have a question - i'm sure anyone who knows something about politics can answer this, and at the risk of sounding like a dumbass -

when ole paul M or any other of the PMs of Canada's past have to make a decision like this, i.e. whether or not to broach a topic like specific human rights issues with a foreign leader... how do they make that decision? do they go sit in their backyard with a tea and ponder? do they have to have a million meetings with all kinds of advisors? do they flip a coin? just curious.

here's the article:

PM urged to press China on human rights

By ALLISON DUNFIELD

Globe and Mail Update

POSTED AT 3:01 PM EST Thursday, Jan 13, 2005

Prime Minister Paul Martin was strongly urged Thursday by activist groups to make human rights, not trade, his top priority during his visit to China later this month.

Mr. Martin will embark on a major trip to Asia on Saturday that will not only include visits to India, China and Japan but also tsunami-ravaged regions in Sri Lanka and Thailand.

During what will be his first visit to China as Prime Minister, Mr. Martin will meet with Premier Wen Jiabao and President Hu Jintao. The Prime Minister's Office has said his discussions in China are expected to focus on trade and commercial relationship developments, along with environmental topics and human rights.

Foreign Affairs officials said at a briefing on the Prime Minister's trip this week that Canada would, more specifically, push for respect of the rule of law and respect for freedom of religion.

However, Alex Neve, Amnesty International Canada's secretary general, told globeandmail.com that the federal government needs to be more specific in what it asks of China and it needs to demand results.

"That's tended to be Canada's approach to raising human rights issues in the context of trips like this. We get a lot of vague generalities," he said.

"We need a very reliable assurance that there's some serious attention being paid to human rights issues. That it's not just the uncomfortable afterthought once all of the trade and investment issues have been dealt with. That it is driving the agenda and is one of the priority concerns."

Amnesty International Canada sent a letter to the Prime Minister on the eve of his trip urging him to "adopt a more resolute approach to Canada's relationship with China, with human rights firmly and concretely at its centre."

And a spokesman for the Canada Tibet Committee told globeandmail.com that the group is hoping Mr. Martin will push for more concrete action to ensure that a dialogue process continues to promote negotiations on Tibet.

Tenzin Dargyal, however, said he was encouraged by comments by the Foreign Affairs officials that there is indeed a dialogue going on between Canada on the Tibet issue.

"We are encouraged there is dialogue happening."

He said he is also encouraged by the fact that 159 parliamentarians have signed a letter in support of the "Tibet-China Negotiation Campaign."

China has made a contested claim to sovereignty over Tibet for hundreds of years and has occupied it since 1951.

The Dalai Lama, considered the leader of Tibetan Buddhists, has lived in exile since 1959.

The Dalai Lama's high-profile visit to Canada in April included a visit with Prime Minister Paul Martin, which angered the Chinese government, and well-received public events.

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They sit and look at our trade surplus and upcoming future hostile take-over of key industries and resources by the world's greatest ideological juggling machine (the captailist communists? the communist captialists?) and quietly decide that in the grand scheme of things, getting some monks their "home" back falls short of priority -see Palestine for details.

This is also the answer for why we don't push them on why carried out 90% of the world's executions last year.

sorry, I'm super-cynical today.

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