Roderick Stewart, Remembering Dr. Bethune: A special Meeting of Canada China Friendship Society. poster.
Forty five years ago, in October 1970, Canada and China signed an agreement to normalize diplomatic relations following two years of negotiations in Stockholm. To mark the 45th Anniversary of this event the CCFS-O organized a special event for members and guests.
The evening opened with greetings from the Deputy Head of Mission of the Chinese Embassy, Wentian Wang. He was followed by a brief presentation by John Curtis who was a Member of the Privy Council Office in 1970 and spoke about the historical context and his experience briefing Prime Minister Pierre Elliot Trudeau on the occasion of his 1973 visit to China.
The keynote speaker for the evening was Roderick Stewart, author of Phoenix, The Life of Norman Bethune.
More than seventy-five years after his death Norman Bethune is still the most widely known Canadian in China. The presentation covered highlights of his amazing life as surgeon, inventor, and social activist, and explained his heroic work in China (1938-39) during the Sino-Japanese War.
Roderick Stewart, a former teacher of history, is the author of Bethune (New Press, 1973), the first full-length documented biography of Norman Bethune. He is also the author of The Mind of Norman Bethune a compilation of Bethune’s writings and of many photographs, and Norman Bethune, a biography intended for high school students. With Jesus Majada, his Spanish co-author, Stewart wrote Bethune en Espana, published in Madrid in 2009. Two years later he and his wife Sharon wrote Phoenix the Life of Norman Bethune, the most comprehensive biography to date of this intriguing historical figure.
Sharon Stewart is a professional editor and the author of seven novels, many of them historical fiction. She has also published a book of short stories and Norman Bethune, Heroic Doctor .
Also on display that evening was an exhibition of cartoons from the Chinese press in the 1980s on loan from Professors Cynthia and Yves Bled. In 1985 the Canadian International Development Agency, the University of Ottawa, and the Institute for International Development provided financial support for this fascinating examination of life in China as revealed through editorial cartoons. The result was production of a book in English, Understanding China Through Cartoons, and French, La Chine A Travers Les Caricatures, and a 42 panel travelling exhibition that went across Canada. The exhibition is in English, French and Mandarin. It is divided into themes such as Family, Education, Labour, Economics, Arts and Culture, Private and Public Life, and the Social Impact of Foreign Influences.
The CCFSO is grateful to Professor Yves Bled and Professor Cynthia Bled for the opportunity to once again share this insightful exhibition with Ottawa. The first part of the exhibition was displayed on October 30 and the second will be shown on November 19. Copies of the French version of the book, La Chine A Travers Les Caricatures, were available for purchase.