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Trips to China are mostly about playing to the home crowd

By Angelo Persichilli      

Despite the hype, prime ministerial trips to China don't actually accomplish much beyond allowing our leaders to score political points at home.

Former prime minister Stephen Harper and wife Laureen Harper during a visit to China in 2012, with panda bear Er Shun, one of two pandas that were leant by China to Canada. Angelo Persichilli writes that prime ministerial visits to China do not accomplish much. Photograph by Angelo Persichilli

TORONTO—Every time a Canadian prime minister visits China, the media hype leads Canadians to believe that something economically important is going to happen. Not true. Canadian politicians go to China to do politics in Canada. There are two major issues in dealing with China: human rights and economic trade. If our politicians talk about the economy and ignore the human rights, they are heavily criticized by the media and opposition “for selling out Canadian values.” Conversely, if they talk

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