Emerging super-power or developing country? Communist dictatorship or economic miracle of free-market enterprise? What’s happening in China and what’s been going on since Chairman Mao’s successor Deng Xiaoping declared in 1985, that “it’s okay for some people to get rich first”? Is the country opening up politically as well as economically? How free are ordinary Chinese? What do they talk about around the kitchen table?

Although Canada established diplomatic relations with China in 1970, a year before it occupied a seat at the United Nations, Prime Minister Harper got off to a rocky start with the Chinese leadership. Relations appear to have improved since then and this year’s visit resulted in the loan of two giant pandas. Why the change of heart? And what more is in the offing?

Speaker: Trevor Page

Trevor Page is a retired United Nations official, settled in Lethbridge. He served in China as the head of the U.N. World Food Programme from 1986 – 1990, when the country had just started opening up to the outside world.

Since retirement, Trevor and his wife Jan Gong, a former official of China’s central government, visit the country almost every year. They have family in China and try to keep abreast of what is going on in the country.

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