Mr. Speaker, I will be splitting my time with my colleague from Calgary West.
I have a great deal of difficulty with the bill but I support it. My party supports it. Our hope is that the removal of trade barriers and the inclusion of China in the WTO will add to a liberalization of the country and an improvement in human rights within that country.
China represents one-fifth of the earth's population. It is our fourth largest trading partner. It has the largest economy not currently in the WTO.
Part of the reason we would like to see the removal of trade barriers is that trade does not necessarily confer a moral agreement with the regime in power. Trade exists between individuals and firms. We cannot confuse our moral condonement of a nation's policies and behaviour with a desire to increase bilateral trade. Our hope is that when we look at this in 20 years we will see that the improvement of trade has actually increased discourse between cultures and individuals and that it has managed to liberalize the political environment within China.
One of the primary faults in geopolitics is the belief that there is only one superpower, the United States. I believe that is a myth. China's behaviour could best be summed up in a comment made by Sun tzu, the famous Chinese philosopher. He said that one of the best ways of displaying strength is to show a rather benign and weak front to an opponent but behind that, to develop an extraordinary amount of strength.
China has been doing that for some time. Not only has it had a super heated economy but it has had a super heated military machine. While we have been looking at other problems around the world, China has been developing ballistic missiles and nuclear capabilities. It has been purchasing and producing large scale armaments, including aircraft carriers which will enable it to extend its reach abroad. This is often denied and ignored in international foreign policy.
The Minister of Foreign Affairs and the Prime Minister with our allies must pay close heed to this behaviour in future dealings with China. We simply cannot ignore it. It is a wolf in sheep's clothing. Some people have articulated very well what China has been doing over the years.
China's behaviour is another matter. If we look at the Spratly Islands, Taiwan and Tibet in particular, which my friend and colleague will discuss, China has displayed repeatedly an absolute utter neglect for the basic norms of human rights that Canadians and the international community hold dear.
China is among the worst abusers of human rights in the world. Tibet is a case in point. In the 1940s China annexed a good chunk of Tibet and was responsible for the murder of tens of thousands of innocent Tibetans. The Chinese murdered thousands of monks and nuns and burned down almost all the 6,400 monasteries in Tibet. It was an act of cultural genocide. This is something the international community has chosen to pay little heed to.
It is instructive to judge a country's future by looking at its past. The repressive regime in China thinks very little of human rights or human life. Today it continues to abuse the basic human rights of people in Tibet. In fact, 74% of the political prisoners in Tibet held by the Chinese are nuns and monks. It is a case of overt religious oppression by a repressive regime.
Other members have mentioned this eloquently both inside and outside the House. The government could have spoken more forcefully on this issue. The government could have been more aggressive by bringing the issue to international fora such as the UN but it has chosen not to.
It is sad, because if we do not discuss these egregious abuses of human rights, in a way we become party to them. We have seen many cases in history where our neglect to examine abuses of the basic human rights of people has caused widespread traumatic problems for all of us.
Fair trade is good, but we simply cannot ignore the situation on the ground. The saving grace in the liberalization of trade is perhaps the response of the more hard line members of the Chinese regime, those who would wish to support and continue the status quo. They are against the normalization of trade between countries. That fact gives me hope that what we are trying to do is the right thing, that it will improve human rights, liberalize the country and ensure that the basic human rights of Chinese people will be improved and not worsened and that by liberalizing trade we are not part and party unwillingly and unwittingly to a worsening of human rights.
The militarists and reactionaries of China oppose the liberalization of trade. They correctly see it as a threat to their repressive regime. My hope is that in the engagement of trade we also put in conditions that China cannot engage in human rights abuses on one hand while engaging in the normalization of trade on the other.
In the discussions on including China in the WTO, it was very interesting to see the behaviour of China. China tried to introduce a number of loopholes through which it could be included in the WTO if it were to adhere to the spirit and meaning of the WTO. That is a vague and open-ended statement if ever there was one. We cannot tolerate that. China has to adhere to the same human rights norms that we, the United States and all parties to the WTO must adhere to. It is not an either/or situation. It is a condition upon China being introduced and becoming a full, respected member of the WTO.
China must not engage in behaviour that will compromise the regional security in that area. I mentioned the Spratly Islands, Taiwan and Tibet. The international community cannot turn a blind eye to that type of behaviour. Nor can it turn a blind eye to the acquisition of ballistic missiles, nuclear capable technology and the expansion of China's military hardware.
I find it remarkable that the government chooses to give aid to China, a country that is spending hundreds of billions of dollars on improving and expanding its military capabilities. I do not think Canadian taxpayers want to see their hard earned money sent under the guise of official development assistance to a country like China, which is one of the largest economic powers in the world, to build up its military hardware. That is not why we help underprivileged countries. The government should stop its official development assistance to China immediately.
I strongly encourage the government to speak out more forcefully against the human rights abuses against the people of Tibet and China's egregious abuses of the norms of international security when it rattles sabres against Taiwan. The only resolution to the Taiwan-China situation will occur through peaceful negotiation. Sabre rattling against Taiwan or the Spratly Islands only causes concern for the international community as well as for the region.
In conclusion, our party supports the inclusion of China in the WTO but it is not support at any cost. The Canadian Alliance will be paying close attention to the behaviour of China on human rights and religious freedoms and in engaging in fair trade, not the abusive trade practices of the past.