Letter: Will it take a Tiananmen to stop SD43 trips to China?

The Editor,

Re. “Trip to China just business: SD43” (The Tri-City News, July 18).

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Letter writers to The Tri-City News (myself included) are only knocking their heads against a brick wall each time they wish to publish criticisms of School District 43’s “business” relationship with China. Nothing is going to change unless, maybe, there’s a Tiananmen-like repeat in Hong Kong, which would press the otherwise naïve mandarinate on Poirier Street.

The bureaucracy at SD43 — not unlike like the Communist Party of China — is an institution and all institutions want to enlarge themselves and then reward their members. That’s why our school trustees are the highest paid in B.C. In other words, just by virtue of their salaries, the trustees are in a conflict of interest. They have paid themselves off for the hard work of their annual all-expense-paid excursions to China.

While SD43 panders to Chinese money, it is not the only educational institution in B.C. to do so. SD43 is just mimicking its so-called betters, especially UBC, which is most egregious in this respect. UBC is supposed to be a “public” first-tier research university but it has built and staffed its own college to teach overseas students whose English is not good enough for first year. So one reason UBC Vantage College exists is because the university has more than 4,000 mainland Chinese students (as of 2016) — about a third of its overseas contingent — all of whom can afford the tuition fees and residence costs, and they come in reliable numbers. Not to be outdone, SFU — at about 2,500 Chinese students — has a relationship with Fraser International College, although the latter has the merit of being private.

Even ivory towers in B.C. aren’t immune to the pull of the “cash nexus” which is now so familiar to SD43. In other words, there’s an exchange going on but it’s not very cultural.

Joerge Dyrkton, Anmore

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