(July 4, 2011) Probe International’s Patricia Adams joined a Business News Network (BNN) panel to discuss the dangers of corporations wishing to do business in China given its poor human rights record.
BNN, July 4, 2011
In light of the recent release from prison of two notable Chinese dissidents Ai Weiwei and Hu Jia, who have since been barred from media interviews and speaking out against the ruling Communist Party, BNN journalist Paul Waldie asks: “Has China’s human rights really improved and how are businesses approaching the issue?”.
Joining Patricia Adams in this discussion were: Pitman Potter, a UBC law professor and celebrated China scholar, and Dr. David Fung, chairman and CEO of the ACDEG Group of companies and vice-chair of the Canada China Business Council.
From the discussion, it emerged that the best way to help China move towards human rights is through engagement and institution building – in particular, establishing the rule of law. The citizens of China and its learned scholars are pushing for the rule of law, says Ms. Adams, but judges are essentially “carrying out telephone justice” – depriving the people of fair hearings and acting on whatever the Communist Party instructs them to do.
Both Ms. Adams and Prof. Potter agreed that the absence of the rule of law in China affects not just human rights and democracy activists, but foreign corporations too, who will not be able to rely on laws and an impartial judicial system to enforce contracts and settle disputes.