China, June 2010
Official Visit in China
June 30–July 5, 2010
"The Chinese are indisputably great builders. Consider today’s infrastructures: this undeniable know-how continues a tradition of great works completed over thousands of years before our time. From Chengdu’s vast irrigation system, to the Forbidden City, to the Great Wall of China, and so on. Always higher, always bigger, always more ingenious. In every big city in modern China, the sky is the limit. Skyscrapers compete with one another, grab our attention, try to stand out, and force people to look at them. In China, the ultimate goal is to continually push the limits of what is possible. It is most certainly a civilization characteristic that is a recurring theme in this country’s history. The “Chinese miracle” originates in this drive to excel."
— Michaëlle Jean, July 21, 2010.
At the invitation of the government of the People’s Republic of China, Their Excellencies the Right Honourable Michaëlle Jean, Governor General of Canada, and Mr. Jean-Daniel Lafond, along with their daughter Marie-Éden, conducted a visit to China, from June 30 to July 5, 2010.
The visit begins in Shanghai, where Their Excellencies celebrate Canada Day at Expo on July 1st with the flag raising and national anthem ceremony.
Their Excellencies then travel to Guangzhou in the province of Guangdong, the driving force behind China’s economic boom and the region from which most Chinese-Canadians emigrate.
They also visit China’s most populous province, Sichuan, in Chengdu notably, which was struck by a devastating earthquake in 2008 that killed more than 80,000 people and where Canadian solidarity played a major role. In every region and city, Their Excellencies highlight the numerous partnerships that Canada and China have developed and, along with the accompanying delegation, they explore opportunities to strengthen and diversify these partnerships.
The visit ends in the country’s national capital, Beijing. Their Excellencies and the delegation meet with the President of the People’s Republic of China His Excellency Hu Jintao and are hosted to an official dinner.
"The increased number of factories and manufacturers is not without its risks. Migrant workers looking for better living conditions are prey to those looking for captive labour. Young girls and women are the first to fall victim to these traffickers. Through a $4-million Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) program, and in partnership with Chinese civil society organizations, including the Women’s Federation, Canada is supporting an awareness-raising campaign to help with prevention, and to assist, protect and train female migrant workers. The results are promising: thousands of young girls and women have been made aware of their rights and are now more likely to assert them.
At a clothing manufacturer in Foshan, we were able to speak with a number of these workers and to observe the power of this mobilization, which is focused on new awareness and is starting to make all the difference in the fight against exploitation in sweatshops, production spaces, factories, manufacturers, and the entire Chinese labour sector. We must also promote greater social responsibility among businesses. We experienced some very touching moments with these workers, who shared their stories and their aspirations."
— Michaëlle Jean, July 21, 2010.
Visit to Fudan University
Their Excellencies visit Fudan University in Shanghai, where they are greeted by the President Mr. Yang Yuliang and Vice President Mr. Wang Weiping. Following a meeting with the University President, the Governor General delivers a speech in front of students. A discussion with Chinese and Canadian panelists and university students on education as a communication tool to build relationships follows.
Fudan University was founded in 1905 and is considered one of the most prestigious universities in China. Fudan University has had a long history of collaboration with Canadian institutions such as York University, MacMaster University and Queen’s University in research and development, student and faculty exchanges, academic programs, and executive training.
Totem Pole Ceremony
At the Sichuan Museum in Chengdu, Their Excellencies and the Canadian delegation visit Qiang Minority artifacts.
The tour is followed by a ceremony where Grand Chief Edward John, First Nations Summit, donates a 4.9-metre high totem pole carved by Canadian First Nations to the Qiang people who were severely affected by the 7.9 magnitude earthquake that struck the south-western Chinese province of Sichuan in 2008.