Prime Minister Stephen Harper touched down in Beijing Tuesday, where he was to lead five days of diplomatic and business talks. The visit is Harper’s second to the Middle Kingdom as Canadian leader and is considered crucial as Canadian businesses seek a larger share of the huge and growing Chinese market. The Chinese, meanwhile, are expected to push for more unfettered, access to Canadian resources, especially Alberta’s oil sands. Human rights, once considered Harper’s main priority in Chinese relations, appear to have faded as an issue for the Conservative leader in the region, at least if his public rhetoric is any sign.
Maclean’s Political Editor Paul Wells is with Harper in Beijing. Though it is late Tuesday night in China, Wells has already checked in on Twitter with news of his luggage search and updates on his decision to not tweet a picture of his hotel toilet. On his blog, meanwhile, Wells reports that the government has named Mark Rothwell, aka Dashan, a Canadian entertainer popular in China, as a goodwill ambassador to the country.