Olaf Schulz, the new German chancellor, addressed the members of the Bundestag for the first time since taking office last week. Among the major issues on the agenda of Germany’s new ruling coalition is relations with China.
A great economic partner, because China is the main world power along with the United States … But it is a partner that holds Berlin in fetters because of its failure to respect the values that Germany stands for, such as defending human rights.
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Visiting dissidents and businessmen
In October, Chinese President Xi Jinping bid farewell to Angela Merkel. Chinese media published excerpts from the video of their interview, in which the head of state called the chancellor an “old friend.”
On each of her trips to China, Angela Merkel has taken an interest in meeting defectors, too. However, these meetings did not disturb the Chinese authorities in light of the good economic relations that the two countries maintain.
Wang Wenbin, a spokesman for the Chinese leader, said he hoped the cooperation with the new German government would remain the same: a working relationship.
Unfavorable public opinion
But in the decade of the alliance, five points can swing in China: Uyghur oppression in Xinjiang, human rights, Hong Kong and Taiwan, and tensions in the Indo-Pacific region.
Olaf Schultz actually met Xi Jinping, when he was a minister and when Germany was hosting the G20, in 2017.
The new German government has received its mandate from people who say they have 75% negative image of China. This will appear in politics,” Expect Jörg Wootke, president of the European Chamber of Commerce in China, who believes the tone will harden on the subject of human rights. But he hopes the situation will not deteriorate.
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Olaf Schultz, the new chancellor of the Social Democratic Party, has not yet spoken, but his environmental partners and the Freedom and Development Party are critical of the existing authority in Beijing.
„They will have to take an inventory, Explained by Jörg Wootky. China will be on top in terms of foreign policy, especially as the Olympics are approaching and promise to be very hot politically.”
The United States, the United Kingdom, Australia and Canada have already announced that they will not send diplomats, only athletes to the Beijing Olympics.
Germany, China’s main trading partner in Europe, did not take a stand. At least for now: Secretary of State Annallina Barbock does not rule out such a partial boycott:
“China is also our partner, as Europeans and in the G7. There are many international questions that we must answer together, Minister admits. But China is also a competitor, with another system that rivals ours.”
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Germany hopes that the European Union will reach a common position. So that she does not have to choose on her own between economic pragmatism and human rights.
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