El Shafie cited troubling actions by the Canadian government, including their approval of the takeover of the Canadian energy company Nexen by a state-owned Chinese company, and the unveiling of the Canada-China Foreign Investment Protection and Promotion Agreement (FIPA). According to El Shafie, the Chinese government continues to systematically violate the most basic freedoms of its people, and in particular the rights of religious minorities.
In 2012, Chinese authorities continued their campaign of widespread arrests in an apparent attempt to eradicate the house church movement in China. According to documents obtained by another human rights organization, the Chinese government has also adopted a clear policy designed to crack down on expressions of Christianity on university campuses. The persecution by the Chinese government has not only targeted Christians, but other religious minorities such as the Uyghurs, Falun Gong and the people of Tibet. For example, reports show that Chinese authorities have detained hundreds of thousands of Falun Gong practitioners, several thousand of whom have been killed in order to harvest their organs.
Despite egregious human rights violations, in December 2012 the Canadian government approved the takeover of Nexen Inc. by the state-owned China National Offshore Oil Corporation (CNOOC). Critics have warned of the economic dangers of giving up control of Canadian natural resources to foreign interests. However, even more important than the economic ramifications is the willingness by the Canadian government to turn a blind eye to human rights abuses.
While the takeover has received final approval in Canada, the deal cannot be completed without the approval of the U.S. Committee on Foreign Investment and, ultimately, President Barack Obama. The dangers of this deal to Canadian sovereignty are well documented. Not only would this agreement prevent the Canadian parliament from enacting public policy measures that may affect Chinese investment interests in Canada, it would also expose the Canadian people to secretive arbitration awards handed down by arbitrators unaccountable to Canadian courts or the Canadian people. One Free World International also points out that the FIPA, which does not contain any mention of human rights, let alone substantive human rights provisions, sends a clear message to China and the international community that Canadian human rights values are indeed ‘for sale.’
“The government of Canada cannot allow the issue of religious persecution to be lost among the myriad of other matters informing its policy decisions,” says El Shafie. “While we understand the economic realities facing the Canadian government and the need to attract foreign investment, Canada must take a stand and make clear by its actions, not only its words, that it will not overlook the suffering of religious minorities around the world. We believe that Prime Minister Harper and the Canadian government are concerned about the human rights violations against minorities in China. However, these two decisions are troubling and send a dangerous message to both the Chinese government and the international community.”
One Free World International is calling on their partners and supporters in the United States to make their voices heard in opposition to this deal. Concerned citizens are encouraged to make their voices heard by contacting their leaders and letting them know that the people will not accept that everything ‘Made in China’ includes our human conscience and values.
About Majed El Shafie:
El Shafie was arrested, tortured and sentenced to die in Egypt because of his Christian faith. Today, he lives in Canada and fights for those persecuted around the world through his human rights organization, One Free World International. Pressuring governments, and challenging both world and spiritual leaders, El Shafie has not been afraid to put everything on the line to help those in need. El Shafie and his work are the focus of the award-winning documentary “Freedom Fighter” (www.freedomfighterdvd.com) and the companion book, “Freedom Fighter: One Man’s Fight for One Free World” (Destiny Image). El Shafie regularly testifies before the U.S. Congress and the Canadian Parliament and Senate, and he’s a regular guest on CTV News, CBC, Sun News, CBN, ACLJ’s Jordan Sekulow Show and more. In July 2012, he was awarded the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal.
Image from en.minghui.org