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FEDERATION OF CANADA-CHINA FRIENDSHIP ASSOCIATIONS


FEDERATION OF CANADA-CHINA FRIENDSHIP ASSOCIATIONS
A BRIEF HISTORY, 1980 TO WINTER 2012


The original aims of the Federation of Canada-China Friendship Associations (FCCFA) were reiterated in an amended Constitution in 1999, and again in the amended Constitution and By-laws of February 2008.

Aims

1.To promote friendship between the people of Canada and China by fostering mutual understanding and appreciation of each other's society, their historical development and their functioning social and economic institutions. 2.To promote cultural, educational, scientific, athletic and other exchanges between the Canadian and Chinese people.

Principles

Any person who agrees with these aims and principles may join a Member association of the Federation, regardless of racial, ethnic or social origin, or religious or political affiliation.

The Federation and its member associations are not political organizations, nor do they support any political movements. The Federation and its members aim to reach out to people of all walks of life and enlist their interest for developing a mutually beneficial Canada-China relationship.

The Federation and/or its member associations may organize activities for its members in order to exchange viewpoints, discuss and study particular questions relating to Canada-China relations.

The Federation and local member associations will function democratically to ensure that all members have a voice in the affairs of the Canada-China friendship movement and to encourage the broadest and most active participation of all members in friendship activitie

Founding and Early Years

-- The FCCFA was founded in March 1980 at its first national conference held in Ottawa March 1-2, coinciding with the tenth anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Canada and the PRC. Some 32 delegates representing 20 Canada-China Friendship Associations from Victoria to Halifax gave unanimous approval to the Federation creation. Mrs. Alice Griffiths was elected as president. Taking part in the founding conference were the Honourable T.C. (Tommy) Douglas, Chester Ronning, Dr. James G. Endicott and Paul T.K. Lin. Then Chinese Ambassador to Canada, H.E.Wang Tung, was also present. Later that year an FCCFA delegation visited China and met with Madame Soong Ching Ling in Beijing.

The FCCFA's distinguished founding members included several who were born in China of missionary parents: Molly Phillips of Victoria, Bill Small, Alice Griffiths and Dr. James G. Endicott of Toronto. Partly as the result of Dr. Endicott's tireless efforts to rally public opinion, the Canadian government gave full diplomatic recognition to the People's Republic of China in October 1970. Alice Griffiths (d.2012) was honoured by the China National Youxie with the title of Friendship Ambassador on attaining her 90th birthday. Mrs. Molly Phillips (d. 2006) in 1990 spoke at the Great Hall of the People on the 100th anniversary of Norman Bethune's birth; she also met President Jiang Zemin on that visit.

Development -- In the early years the FCCFA was a much larger organization than by the late 90's. As noted in the FCCFA Fall 2002 newsletter by then president Michael Copeland, from the mid-1970's to the mid-1980's friendship association branches had a near monopoly on tourist travel to China, which became very popular and resulted in some modest revenue for FCCFA. With China's Opening Up policy and the growth of commercial tourism to China, the number of FCCFA-organized tours significantly decreased as did membership. A number of friendship society chapters also folded in the wake of the Tiananmen incident. Over the years, the FCCFA has encouraged and assisted Canadian cities and municipalities in establishing twinning arrangements with Chinese cities.

Structure and Functioning -- Membership in the FCCFA is by application from individual chapters which contribute annual dues to the Federation. The Board of Directors elects an Executive which consists of the president, a vice-president, a treasurer and a secretary. Other directors are also designated by their local chapters. The Board holds face-to-face meetings every three years, and twice yearly meetings via teleconference. Recent physical meetings took place in Calgary (2002), Victoria (2005), Hunan, China (2008), and in Shanghai (2010). The Federation's annual newsletter appears, with some exceptions, in the fall.

The FCCFA was approved for registration under the Canada Corporations Act in April 1983 by Consumer and Corporate Affairs Canada (the Corporations Canada mandate is under Industry Canada). The FCCFA Constitution and By-Laws are filed with this Ministry.

Relations with China's National Youxie: From the beginning, the FCCFA has provided the formal liaison with Youxie, the Chinese People's Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries (CPAFFC), an organization founded in 1954 and headquartered in the heart of Beijing. A few years after FCCFA's establishment, in 1984 a large CPAFFC delegation visited Canada and met with Dr. Wendell MacLeod, an old friend of China who had worked with Dr. Norman Bethune.

The CPAFFC played an instrumental role leading to the friendship agreement signed in November 1985 between Ontario and Jiangsu province and renewed in 2008. This agreement has provided a stimulus and a framework for a host of active trade, technological, agricultural, educational, scientific, and cultural exchanges between these two provinces since its inception. The FCCFA played host to senior CPAFFC delegation visits led by its then Vice-president Madame Li Xiaolin in 2000 and 2006, and in 2008 by Director for Canadian and Oceania Affairs Qing Boming. In fall 2010 a 20-member CPAFFC delegation led by Qing Boming (Deputy Director General, America & Oceania Affairs) participated in the 2nd Canada-China Cultural Dialogue, and the Canada-China Relations Conference, both conferences took place October 13-14 in Ottawa.

Every two or three years China National Youxie invites an FCCFA delegation to visit China, with Canadian delegates self-paying their international travel expenses. The Canadians are hosted by CPAFFC for a ten-day tour to designated Chinese cities and more recently to participate in international friendship fora. FCCFA delegations participated in such fora in Chongqing (May 2004, Wuhan (September 2006), Hunan (November 2008), and Jiangxi (September 2010), Jilin (September 2012) to discuss the future of the friendship movement. On the 2010 and 2012 China tours, attendance at the CPAFFC Friendship Cities conferences were added to the FCCFA delegation`s program.

The FCCFA co-operates with provincial friendship associations in China and helps to co-ordinate their delegation visits to Canada. In 2005, and again in 2006 two separate FCCFA delegations visited Jiangsu province and Shanghai, invited by respectively the Jiangsu Province and Shanghai Municipality's People's Associations for Friendship with Foreign Countries (PAFFC) to attend their 50th anniversary celebrations of their respective organization's founding involving some 30 countries' delegations. Recent provincial level friendship exchanges have involved the sending of Canadian youths by the Ottawa chapter to the Shanghai PAFFC's international summer youth camps (2006, 2008, 2011), and Canadian participation in Jiangsu-hosted conferences international symposia on elder care and other fields.

FCCFA Branches - The six chapters and their founding dates are: Victoria Canada-China Friendship Association (1965), Canada-China Friendship Association of Calgary (1974), Canada-China Friendship Society of Ottawa (1976), Manitoba Branch of the Canada-China Friendship Association (re-established in 2002), Toronto Canada China Friendship Association (re-established in 2008), the B.C. Lower Mainland chapter in 2011.

Letterhead and Logo: the FCCFA letterhead bears the calligraphy of Professor Jerome Chen. The logo was designed by former Federation president Tsin Van and presented as a gift to FCCFA in 2006.

Presidents of FCCFA since 1980:
Alice Griffiths
Harry Campbell
Molly Phillips
Tsin Van
Dietrich Elias
Michael Copeland, 1998-2004
Lolan Merklinger, 2005 - spring 2009
Fred Drewe, spring 2009 - fall 2011
Sheila Foster 2011-2014
Gary Levy 2014 to present







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