Mon, Sep 19, 2005 - Page 7 News List

Hu's N American trip ends amid protests in Vancouver

NINE-DAY TOUR While the Chinese and Canadian leaders focused on trade ties over lunch, protesters drew attention to China's poor human-rights record

AFP , VANCOUVER, CANADA

The end of Chinese President Hu Jintao's (胡錦濤) landmark North American tour was marked by protests on Saturday in Vancouver on Canada's west coast, much like it started nine days earlier.

Hu and Canadian Prime Minister Paul Martin toasted each other at a farewell luncheon for Hu inside a luxury hotel, while outside about 300 demonstrators against China's human-rights record screamed: "Shame, shame, shame."

Scores held up banners supporting Falungong, the religious movement banned in China, and "Free Tibet" signs, as pro-Chinese demonstrators waved large red Chinese flags and one supporter beat on a drum.

Trucks drove past plastered with signs that read: "80 million died under China" followed by late-model vans covered in the Chinese flag, with passengers aiming video cameras at the protesters on the sides.

Numerous people wore giant signs bearing photographs of Tibetans imprisoned or killed in China over religious issues, including Sonan Dorje, Lobsang Yonten, Gyaltsen Dolkar and Phun Tsok Narjdu.

Taiwan

They protested China's claims on Taiwan too, calling it a military threat, and said that Canada should focus less on trade and speak out against China's human-rights abuses.

"China is a bully," said protester Charles Yang, who immigrated in 1964 from Taiwan. He said Canada had recently stood up to the US in a battle over lumber tariffs, but "how about China ... with China, Canada shows no backbone."

He charged that Canada ignores China's military buildup, threats against Taiwan and human-rights abuses "in order to promote trade. It is too short-sighted."

Indeed, trade between the two countries was the focus of Hu's tour of Canada and Mexico. A week earlier, Martin and Hu signed a "strategic partnership" between the two countries in Ottawa.

"I am satisfied with the achievements of the robust Canada-Chinese collaboration," Hu told 850 elite political, business and community leaders at the luncheon on Saturday, insulated inside the large hotel ballroom from the din of the protesters and supporters outside.

Burgeoning trade

Hu said he hoped the two countries would double bilateral trade by 2010 and work together on major international and regional issues toward "world peace and development."

Martin called Hu's visit "a great success" and recited a list of things the two countries have in common, including regional diversity and an enormous geographic size.

It was Hu's first trip to North America since he assumed the president's office in 2003 and only the third by a Chinese president since diplomatic relations were established in 1970.

China agreed to postpone a visit to Washington because of US President George W. Bush's busy schedule handling the Hurricane Katrina disaster.

Martin also said the world has much work to do on development, security and human-rights issues, noting both he and Hu recently appeared at the UN in New York.

Human rights earned only a brief mention, even though the issue has drawn hundreds of demonstrators throughout Hu's tour.

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