Topics Discussed and Key Points:
● The focus of the China Institute
● How the Canada-China relationship has evolved since the 1950s
● How China and Canada may recover from their strained relationship that reached a low point in December 2018
● How the relationship between Canada and China may look ten years from now
● What lessons can Canada and other Western countries learn from China, especially when it comes to spurring economic growth
● Common misconceptions about China in North America’s academic environment
● Key differences between the academic environment in China and that of North America
Today on The Negotiation, we speak with Jia Wang, Interim Director of the China Institute at the University of Alberta. She brings to her work over 15 years of experience in international relations and public affairs management.
Having previously worked as a TV producer and news anchor, today Jia is a sought-after media commentator and public speaker on Canada-China relations as well as the Chinese economy and politics.
Born and raised in Beijing, Jia had always been fascinated by the “outside world” thanks in large part to her globally-minded father. After completing her bachelor of law degree at Peking University, she left for Canada where she studied International Relations at the University of Toronto.
Through her current work at the China Institute, Jia and her team focus on “policy-relevant studies that are applicable to the real world as China gains increasing importance on the global stage, both economically and on the international relations front.”
Listen in as Jia breaks down the evolution of Canada-China relations, specifically between 1950 to 2000, then from 2000 to 2010, and finally from 2010 to 2018. She traces this history from the wheat exports that began in the late 1950s to the point wherein China developed into Canada’s second-largest trading partner.
She then shares how she believes China and Canada may “restart” their strained relationship following the rocky events of December 2018. She hopes that the two countries may engage in dialogue centred around common goals such as tackling climate change, all the while becoming more tolerant of each other’s differences in values and governance practices.
Finally, Jia explains the common misconceptions that Americans have about China, as well as the differences between the academic environment in China and that of North America after over a decade of being immersed in the latter.
“We focus on policy-relevant studies that are applicable to the real world as China gains increasing importance on the global stage, both economically and on the international relations front. We want to help Canadians better understand where China is coming from, what the country is doing, and hopefully use that information to help policy members and the public to better understand China and to better manage the relationship between Canada and China.”
“We do need to know what China is thinking and hoping to do, and of course China needs to know what Canada is hoping to do. Without dialogue, we just cannot move forward.”
“China is rising and China is here to stay. It is impossible to try to decouple from China and try to isolate China as if it were the 50s. So, we do have to find a path forward, and we do have to have a strategy that is more forward-looking, and to include China in the global discussion on how to tackle pressing global issues.”