Charles Burton

Faculty of Social Sciences

Charles Burton

Associate Professor specializing in Comparative Politics, Government and Politics of China, Canada-China Relations, and Human Rights

Phone: +1-905-329-9477
To set up a meeting or interview with me, please click here:
SMS: +1-905-329-9477
Office: Plaza 353

Skype: cburton002
Fax: +1-209-231-4087

 Web Site:

Course outlines:


University of Toronto Ph.D. (1987) Thesis: "Political Authority and Value Change in Post-Mao China" supervised by Bill Saywell and then Victor Falkenheim (after Saywell moved to SFU)
1978-81 Department of Philosophy, Fudan University
Thesis: "Daoist Philosophic Thought and Materialism", supervised by Yan Beiming
1976-77 Faculty of Oriental Studies, Cambridge University (Pembroke College)
1974-76 Trinity College, University of Toronto, B.A.(hons)

Research Interests:

The fundamental question that I seek to resolve is how to alleviate poverty and to realize human rights in the context of repressive structures of political power and cultural legacies at cross purposes to liberal norms. Most of my work is on Chinese domestic and international politics and on the foreign policies of advanced industrialized nations toward China.

Selected Publications:

 "The Dynamic of Relations Between Canada and China" in Duane Bratt and Christopher J. Kukucha, eds, Readings in Canadian Foreign Policy: Classic Debates and New Ideas, 3rd Edition, Toronto: Oxford University Press, 2015, Ch. 11

* “Canada’s China Policy under the Harper Government.” Canadian Foreign Policy Journal, 2015, 1–19. doi:10.1080/11926422.2014.934860.

* « Le discours du Parti communiste chinois sur la légitimité politique à la suite du 18e congrès du Parti » .in Éric Mottett, Barthélémy Courmont et Frédéric Lasserre, eds. La Chine et le Monde. Quelles nouvelles relations, quels nouveaux paradigmes?’ Québec, Québec: Presses de l’Université du Québec, 2015 , Chapitre 1, 11-22.

* “Response to “Dancing with the Dragon” by Paul Evans (April 2013)” Literary Review of Canada, vol 21, no. 4, May 2013, 32.

"Scenarios for China's role in a post-American world" in Sean Clark and Sabrina Hoque (eds.) Debating a Post-American World, New York: Routledge, 2012, 99-103.

* "China's Future Participation in the International Community" Passages, Asia Pacific Reader 3 (2010-11) The Asian Institute at the Munk School of Global Affairs, University of Toronto, 92-5.

* "The Canadian Policy Context of Canada's China Policy" in Huhua Cao and Vivienne Poy, eds. The China Challenge: Sino-Canadian Relations in the 21st Century, University of Ottawa Press, 2011, 32-46.

"Response to Jeremy Paltiel's Article, 'Canada and China: An Agenda for the Twenty-First Century: A Rejoinder to Charles Burton'" Canadian Foreign Policy, vol. 15, no. 2, 2009, pp. 118-22. ( Paltiel's article in the same issue ( is a commentary on my refereed report A Reassessment of Canada's Interests in China and Options for Renewal of Canada's China Policy that was released by the Canadian International Council in 2009 (

* “Neoauthoritarianism, urban bourgeoisie, and China’s democratization” in Wu Guoguang and Helen Lansdowne, eds. Zhao Ziyang and China’s Democratic Future, London and New York: Routledge, 2008, pp. 122-134.

* “The 'Beijing Consenus' and China's quest for legitimacy on the international stage" in André Laliberté and Marc Lanteigne (eds), The Chinese Party-State in the 21st Century Abingdon, Oxon: Routledge, 2008 pp. 146-161.

* "A 'Principled' Approach, Quiet Diplomacy and Harper’s Message to Beijing" Embassy: Canada's Foreign Policy Newsletter, published November 14, 2007.

* "Assessment of the Canada-China Bilateral Human Rights Dialogue”, released by Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada in May 2006 (


 My Op-Ed "Beijing’s real reasons behind the summit in Singapore" was published in the Globe and Mail on November 10, 2015:

My Op-Ed "Goodbye to the age of China’s ‘little emperors’" was published in the Globe and Mail on October 30, 2015:

My Op-Ed "Relations with China should hinge on more than short-term economic value" was published in the Globe and Mail Report on Business on October 26, 2015:
My Op-Ed "Why are Canada’s party leaders ignoring China?" in Globe and Mail published October 6, 2015:

MyOp-Ed "Who will march with China at Xi’s parade?" in Globe and Mail published September 2, 2015:

My Op-Ed "China learns it can’t control the laws of economics in Globe and Mail published August 13, 2015:

My Op-Ed "Taking stock of the Chinese stock market slide" in Globe and Mail published July 9, 2015:

Op-Ed "The murky world of Chinese influence" Globe and Mail, June 17, 2015:
Op-Ed " More than empty rhetoric as China engages in Communist democracy" Globe and Mail, March 6, 2015:
Op-Ed "Bending over backward for Beijing" National Post March 6, 2015:
Op-Ed "Why did Harper go to China" was published on p.A13 of the Globe and Mail on November 11, 2014:
Op-Ed Canadians detained in China are pawns in a bigger geopolitical game  was published in The Globe and Mail on August 7, 2014:
Op-Ed "Plenty of red flags for investors in China’s

Op-Ed “Canada’s Cyber Conundrum” was published in Embassy Magazine on October 23, 2013:

Op-Ed "Bo Xilai's 'fair and open trial' smells like arbitrary rule" was published in the Globe and Mail on August 23, 2013:

Op-ed "China's Communists Find Marxism" was published in the Globe and Mail on March 6, 2013:

Op-Ed "Stephen Harper's decision on CNOOC finally gets the China connection right" was published in the Toronto Star on December 11, 2012:

Op-Ed "Stephen Harper's New Trade Rules Safeguard Canadian Interests" published in on December 8, 2012:

Op-Ed "Tired Communists put China's hopes to sleep" was published in the Toronto Star on November 14, 2012, p A23:

Op-Ed "CNOOC's bid for Nexen is a key move on China's global chess board" was published in the Toronto Star on August 23, 2012:

Op-ed "The party will write the narrative for Ms. Gu – and for Nexen" was published in the Globe and Mail on August 6, 2012:

Op-ed "Sunk by corruption, even in China" was published in the Globe and Mail on April 20, 2012:
Op-ed “Harper in China: Juggling oil sales and core principles” was published in the Toronto Star February 5, 2012:  Also as "Burton: The perils of embracing trade with China" published in the Calgary Herald February 8, 2012:
Op-Ed comparing the presidencies of Kim Jong-il and Vaclav Havel was published in the Ottawa Citizen under the title "North Korea could have used a Havel" December 22, 2011 and in the Vancouver Sun as "A  study in presidential contrasts" and on, Montreal Gazette, etc.  It was also published in the Halifax Chronicle-Herald on January 4, 2012 as "A tale of two presidents taking countries down opposite paths":  It was published as "A tale of two vastly different presidents" in the Hamilton Spectator on January 6, 2012:
Op-Ed  "China's hit-and-run morality" was published in the Globe and Mail on October 20:
Op-Ed on Lai Changxing matter was published in the Globe and Mail on July 25, 2011: "Farewell, Mr. Lai!":

Op-Ed co-authored with Neil Desai "Promoting pluralism abroad must be a foreign policy pillar" was published in the Globe and Mail on April 13, 2011, p. A21:

Op-Ed “Hu Isn’t China” was published in the Globe and Mail on January 20, 2011, p.A19

Op-Ed "North Korea can always count on China" was published in the Toronto Star on November 28, 2010: It also appeared in the Vancouver Sun on November 30 under the title "China will steadfastly support North Korea":  It can also be found at and in the Calgary Herald

Op-Ed "The Dalai Lama's Elusive Dream" was published in the Toronto Star on October 22:  It was published in the Montreal Gazette under the title "China seeks to silence the Dalai Lama's moderate voice" on October 22:

Op-ed "The China-Korea Puzzle" was published in the Globe and Mail on September 3, 2010 (p. A15):

Op-Ed "Economic Titan China Needs To Act Like A Leader" was published in the Toronto Star on June 17, 2010: It was also published in the Edmonton Journal on June 23 as "China's new prominence brings new responsibilities": and in the Halifax Chronicle Herald as "China needs to act like a leader"

Op-Ed "A more sophisticated engagement with China" appeared in the Globe and Mail on November 30, 2009 ( or the latter with expanded text but without illustration of cute cartoon of panda and beaver sitting together).  Here are a couple of minor editing errors in the text in the Globe. First is that China does not have a "Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation" It has a Ministry of Foreign Affairs. There are International Cooperation offices in other ministries that Canada engages. The other is that Australia had a trade imbalance with China of 1.53:1 in 2004. Today it is 1:1.
An expanded and improved version of  this Op-Ed appeared in the Ottawa Citizen on December 1 under the title "How to deal with China" ( on December 2. The same version under the title "It's time for Canada to rethink the way it engages China" appeared in the Halifax Chronicle-Herald on December 2 ( December The same version with the minor editing errors that was published in the Globe and Mail appeared in the Vancouver Sun on December 10 entitled "Canada's China policy needs a major overhaul" (

Op-ed "Tiananmen: 20 years later, suppression still reigns" was published in the Halifax Chronicle-Herald on June 4, 2009. It can be read at:  My original title for this piece is: "The June 4th Anniversary and Canada-China Relations"

Op-Ed "Sino-Canadian relations on slow boat to nowhere" was published in the Toronto Star on March 6, 2009.  It can be found at
 Podcast of my Lansdowne Lecture "The past, present and future of Canada-China relations" delivered at the University of Victoria on November 20, 2009 can be found at:  The full text of the lecture can be read at: