CCF Advisory Statement for 2023
For the past 18 months, Canada-China Focus has worked to fulfil its mandate to create a non-partisan and safe space for constructive conversations on Canada-China relations based on the principles of decolonization, anti-racism, justice and peace. Thanks to our supporters, partners and sponsors (UVic Center for Global Studies, Canadian Foreign Policy Institute), CCF has made some small advances including co-sponsoring the October HardTalk conference in Ottawa with Carleton’s Norman Paterson School of International Relations.
Recently the CCF Advisory Board met to discuss future plans. The outlook for Canada-China relations remains difficult. Geopolitical posturing will continue to plague the Asia Pacific and the world. In Canada, that means anti-Asian racism related to international factors will persist, with a chilling effect on China-related research and education in both universities and communities. Poor Canada-China relations will also hinder cooperation to meet the existential threats to humanity – climate change, global pandemics, and nuclear war.
History teaches us that world events can have direct effects on communities. What happened to Japanese Canadians (and Japanese Americans) during the Pacific War should not be forgotten, nor the imposition of the Chinese Exclusion Act 100 years ago. Forces of empire will try to take advantage of the complex world situation to pit one community against another. We must not let that happen.
In these circumstances, the Advisory Board is unanimous in recommending that the CCF continue its work in collaboration with its partners and sponsors. It recommends that we focus on supporting those in communities and universities who are being affected by anti-Asian racism; building cross-community understanding and solidarities with particular attention to the lessons of history; networking with academics, researchers and activists to promote an independent Canadian foreign policy; and, where appropriate, promoting Canada-China cooperation at all levels between people, NGOs, and governments, particularly in the areas of labour, health, climate justice, and peace.
Announcing Project 1923: Anti-Racism Past and Present
This year is the 100th anniversary of the Chinese Exclusion Act. Many organizations are marking this occasion, including a pan-Canadian project focusing on community participation in developing an archive on the impacts of anti-Chinese racial discrimination on ordinary people, combined with a major museum exhibit at the Chinese Canadian Museum in Vancouver. Senator Yuen Pau Woo has launched an inquiry into Senate complicity in passing the legislation and is planning a Senate event to mark the anniversary.
We support this movement to mark 1923 and note that the Chinese Exclusion Act was one of many discriminatory measures arising from a white backlash against the growing assertiveness of Indigenous, Asian Canadian, and Black communities in the 1914-1923 period. In marking this occasion, we want to recognize and honour the anti-racist actions of these many communities, and their allies, and believe it also important to relate this past to the present. Although times have changed, there are important parallels to what is happening today in Canada.
With this in mind we are undertaking Project 1923: Anti-racism Past and Present to commemorate this past and relate it to the present by a) nurturing cross-community alliances to reflect the multi-community, anti-racist upsurge associated with WW I and its aftermath, and b) linking this past to the present fight against systemic racism, be it anti-Indigenous, anti-Black, anti-Muslim, anti-Asian (and related Sinophobia) and other forms of racism.
For further information, contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Professor Takashi Fujitani, Director, Dr. David Chu Program in Asia-Pacific Studies, Munk School of Global Affairs, University of Toronto
Dr. John Price, Co-founder, Canada-China Focus; Associate Fellow, Centre for Global Studies, University of Victoria
Professor Henry Yu, Associate Professor, History, and Co-Lead, Centre for Asian Canadian Research and Engagement, UBC