Prime Minister Stephen Harper arrives in China tomorrow during which time he will meet with Chinese President Hu Jintao. Some of the PM’s political foes and business leaders have accused Harper of neglecting China (Canada’s second largest trading partner after the United States). It can also be argued, however, that trade between Canada and China has never been been stronger, despite Canada’s persistence in addressing human rights concerns with Chinese officials.
It would appear that human rights will once again be a topic of discussion during this visit and we welcome that. Despite China’s complaining that Canada is interfering in an internal Chinese matters by expressing such concerns, they have, nevertheless, continued to increase trade with Canada, demonstrating that Canada’s approach is not without merit. One need not sacrifice human rights on the altar of international trade.
We recognize the strategic benefit of addressing cases where there is a Canadian connection, such as the wrongful detention of Huseyincan Celil, a Uyghur imam of Canadian and Chinese citizenship who remains in prison in China on terrorism charges and we sincerely hope that this visit will contribute to a resolution to this case. The Voice of the Martyrs has urged the Prime Minister to also raise such important cases as the well-known Christian human rights attorney Gao Zhisheng who was seized by a dozen police officers and last seen in public on February 4, 2009. Please pray that he will do so. He and his officials are also aware of the plight of unregistered religious groups. Please pray, too, that he will raise this issue in his conversations with Chinese officials.
May I urge you to post prayer on behalf of Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Chinese President Hu Jintao on our Persecuted Church Prayer Wall? Pray that God will guide these discussions in a way that honours Him and the nations of Canada and China.