An Assessment of

50 Years

of Canada-China Relations

Project Description
This year marks the 50th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Canada and China. Now that the relationship is at its lowest ebb since 1970, Canada can neither decouple from this relationship nor take a ‘business-as-usual’ approach that ignores the new realities of China’s international behavior and domestic practices. The CIC has offered to host an article series commissioned by the China Policy Centre, in cooperation with the University of Alberta’s China Institute, and the support of Global Affairs Canada (which has no editorial control over content).

The purpose of this series is to provide a stimulating, sober, and balanced reflection on the way forward in dealing with this key relationship during this challenging period, including a realistic evaluation of the current and future position each country holds in the other’s political, economic, and global decisions.


· Canada-China relations before 1970

· Xi Jinping’s foreign policy and where Canada fits in

· Current themes and future outcomes in diplomatic relations

· Human rights and rule of law

· Economic and commercial relations

· Science and technology—risks, opportunities and policy options

· Environment and climate change

· The Taiwan challenge and the future of Canada-Taiwan relations

· Hong Kong and its implications for Canada

· Public opinion and social forces

· Security challenges

John Gruetzner is the volunteer head of fund raising for the China Policy Centre. He is also the co-founder of Intercedent and sits on the Board of a number of public and private organizations. He graduated from the University of Toronto and also attended Nankai University in China for a year in 1982. Prior to returning to Canada to join Syngrafii Inc. he worked and lived in China for 38 years. He also writes and teaches on doing business in China.

Philip Calvert is a Senior Fellow with the China Institute of the University of Alberta and a Senior Research Associate at the Centre for Asia Pacific Initiatives at the University of Victoria. He served in Beijing as a Trade Commissioner (1984-87), Economic Counsellor (1994-1997) and Minister & Deputy Head of Mission (2004-2008). In Global Affair Canada he served as Director General for North Asia, Deputy Chief Negotiator for Canada during China’s accession to the WTO and as Director of the Technical Barriers to Trade Division. Most recently he spent 2012-2016 as Canada’s ambassador to Thailand, Cambodia and Laos. He has a Ph.D. in Chinese History from the University of Washington.

The China Policy Centre is a member-governed not for profit under development in Ottawa. The members are all Candian citizens with significant professional experience living or working with China. Its objective is to provide objective non-partisan policy specialist information of matters originating from within China that pertain to Canada. The China Policy Centre also aims to improve Canada’s understanding of China by combining the best practices in its research by having participants from the public, private, civil society and academic sectors collaborate on projects together.

The China Institute (CIUA) is focused on the study of contemporary China, including cutting-edge and policy relevant research on Chinese energy policy, politics, economy, social issues, culture and Canada-China relations. The CIUA’s mission is to advance scholarship of China at the University of Alberta, to enhance and support research on China, and to promote strong academic linkages between the University of Alberta and Chinese universities.