Tag Archives: Canada

Latest failure by Beijing to shut up critic

The ruling elite in Beijing really seem to think they can just snap their fingers and the rest of the world will kow-tow.

The latest episode came when the Chinese ambassador to Canada sent a letter to the House of Commons and Foreign Ministry telling the House to withdraw an invitation to Martin Lee and to butt out of Chinese internal affairs.

Lee, one of the major pro-democracy advocates in Hong Kong, was invited to give testimony before the foreign affairs committee about the status of democracy in Hong Kong. (Hong Kong’s Martin Lee testifies in Parliament despite warning)

Every time a critic of Beijing with a Chinese face shows up anywhere in the world, Beijing flips out. The ruling elite keep forgetting that the status of democracy in Hong Kong is based on an international treaty. Plus, by signing on to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the United Nations’ charter, China opened itself up for people to look closely at how well they live up to those documents.

At least with Lee’s visit, they did not claim that his visit to Canada “hurts the feelings of all Chinese in the world.” I think that complaint is saved for criticisms of non-Chinese.

Beijing keeps trying to force its view of control around the world because at times it works.

Late last year Mark Kitto wrote an Op-Ed piece for the New York Times that discussed how China exercises its influence on free speech. (Caving to China’s Power.)

We are used to seeing this in Hong Kong where self-censorship by journalists and straight out orders from publishers have kept the pro-Beijing drums beating. Beijing just wants to extend that authority around the world.

Even everyday folks outside China are being manipulated by China. (People Around the World Are Voluntarily Submitting to China’s Great Firewall. Why?)

It all comes down to controlling the message. If Beijing can’t do it one way — intimidate dissidents or journalists — then do it another way by threatening the economic well-being of companies and countries around the world.

In the schoolyard, that kind of behavior is attributed to bullies. Not people you really want to hang out with.

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Filed under Censorship, China, Press Freedom

Foreign visitor information readily available

The trick to putting things into context is getting the right information.

With all the recent talk of illegal immigration to the United States, it is sometimes useful to look at legal immigration before going off on a bender on immigration law.

Fortunately the Department of Homeland Security puts out a regular report on the numbers of people coming — legally — across the US borders and where they come from. (I’m sorry, from whence they came.)

The bottom line is that the top 5 countries that sent visitors to the USA last year were:

  • Mexico – 17,980,784
  • United Kingdom – 4,566,669
  • Canada – 4,445,88
  • Japan – 4,298,081
  • Germany – 2,359,681

Brazil was in a close sixth place with 2,143,154 entering the US. (By the way — and this is an old story — a Florida business group did a survey about six years ago that showed a direct link between US visas issued in Brazil and jobs created in Florida. It is worth reviewing this piece.)

California and Florida — 11,182,804 and 8,089,139 respectively — were the top two desitnation sites. Kinda looks like a lot of tourism to me. And toursim means jobs and a more favorable foreign exchange situation.

There is a lot of information in this report that can easily be fodder for some great local-global stories.

One of the data points I liked was the growing number of foreign journalists coming to the United States with their families. That means they are coming to stay for a while. That means more coverage of the US overseas and more income for the communities where the journalists are going to live. (Granted, some could be for just a short time to cover a story and then go home, but even so, the numbers are impressive.)

Representatives of foreign media and their spouses and children:

  • 2013 – 45,827
  • 2012 – 44,472
  • 2011 – 51,459

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Filed under Connections, Immigration, Jobs, Story Ideas, Trade