EDITORIAL – A ‘new normal’ with China begins right here in our home town

(Image: File photo by Mel Rothenburger.)

An editorial by Mel Rothenburger.

WHAT TO DO about China? That seems to be the big question now that Meng Wanzhou has gone home and the two Michaels are back on Canadian soil.

Michael Spavor and Michael Kovrig have been a part of our national dialogue since they were thrown into a Chinese prison more than a thousand days ago in retribution for the detention of Meng at the request of the U.S.

With a major source of tension between Canada and China removed, can relations between our two countries return to normal? Maybe the bigger question is, what’s normal?

While the Meng Wanzhou issue was resolved through negotiations at the highest diplomatic and legal levels, a return to goodwill between our two countries will best be accomplished at the grassroots.

The Chinese are wonderful people; they just happen to live under the yoke of a repressive regime.

There are both cultural and business components to our relationship with them. Cultural exchanges have largely been collateral to business, and we do a lot of business with China. It is, in fact, our second biggest trading partner.

Trade as a whole has thrived and exports have actual increased throughout the crisis over Meng’s legal problems. Trade involves a lot of regular people.

In B.C. alone, there are dozens of Canada-China business organizations promoting trade.

Umbrella organizations like the Canada China Business Council and the Canadian Chamber of Commerce in Beijing and Shanghai work to ensure opportunities continue to be advanced.

Here in Kamloops, proactive efforts have been going on for close to 20 years to explore opportunities such as softwood lumber and other exports to China. Thompson Rivers University has close educational involvement there.

Now would be an opportune time for the Kamloops chamber and other business groups to renew initiatives in China.

Governments can create crises, but ordinary people working to keep the wheels of commerce and culture churning give us our best chance at a peaceful and productive relationship with this global super power.

Mel Rothenburger is a former mayor of Kamloops and a retired newspaper editor. He is a regular contributor to CFJC Today, publishes the opinion website, and is a director on the Thompson-Nicola Regional District board. He can be reached at

About Mel Rothenburger (9357 Articles) is a forum about Kamloops and the world. It has more than one million views. Mel Rothenburger is the former Editor of The Daily News in Kamloops, B.C. (retiring in 2012), and past mayor of Kamloops (1999-2005). At he is the publisher, editor, news editor, city editor, reporter, webmaster, and just about anything else you can think of. He is grateful for the contributions of several local columnists. This blog doesn't require a subscription but gratefully accepts donations to help defray costs.

5 Comments on EDITORIAL – A ‘new normal’ with China begins right here in our home town

  1. So shortsighted, puerile, emotional, reactionary and wrong headed the above negaholic comments are. Are youse all not familiar with the thinking, “Ya gots to dance with the one that brung ya”?

    As you admit China is a Goliath of an economic powerhouse. Then dance with her, dummy. Other wise you will end up a wallflower.

    This doesn’t mean we ought to stop holding Chinese feet to the fire on Hong Kong and the Ugirs. What’s this code of human rights you talk about? Is that from your imagination or is it an already existing agreement?

    And how do you know Chinse prisons are grimy? Have you ever been in one?

  2. It is time for the Western world to get tough with China

  3. I am sure umbrella organizations are working diligently to make sure “globalization” continues with China gobbling up ample resources and Canada gobbling up ample amounts of de facto disposable junk. The vulgarity of consumerism is not going to stop regardless of the number of editorials written.

  4. Well said, Sean. Two days after the wrongly imprisoned Michaels return home, we need to make nice?

  5. Sean McGuinness // September 27, 2021 at 8:02 AM // Reply

    I see the returns of the Michaels and Meng to China as an end to a de facto hostage crisis. Two Canadians spent a thousand days in a grimy prison while Meng was confined to her multi-million dollar palace in Vancouver. Are we to pretend that it’s back to business as usual?
    If it’s not enough that two innocent people were held as hostages for years, then people should take heed of what is going down in Hong Kong. There should be repercussions to countries which violate the code of human rights. Somebody needs to take on Goliath and Canada should lead by example.

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