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Baerbock announces tougher course towards China


Both the foreign minister-designate and the candidates for the CDU chairmanship are in favor of a stricter China policy. Baerbock wants to rely on a mixture of dialogue and harshness.

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Annalena Baerbock (Greens) does not want to »gloss over or keep silent« (archive image)

Photo: Chris Emil Janssen / imago images / Chris Emil Janssen

Suppression of the Uyghurs, concerns about tennis player Peng Shuai, China's nuclear ambitions: Germany's relationship with China is tense.

Foreign Minister-designate Annalena Baerbock has now announced that she wants to take a tougher course against China and clearly address grievances in the most populous country in the world.

"Elaborate silence is not a form of diplomacy in the long run, even if it has been seen that way by some in recent years," said the Green politician in an interview with the "taz" when asked about her future China policy. Dialogue is a central component of international politics. "But that doesn't mean that you have to gloss over things or keep silent." A value-based foreign policy must always be an interplay of dialogue and rigor.

Specifically, Baerbock brought an import ban for products from the Chinese region of Xinjiang into play. "We Europeans should use this lever of the common internal market much more effectively." However, it would only work if all 27 member states pull together and not, as in the past, Germany as the largest member state formulate its own China policy, said Baerbock. The Chinese leadership is accused of massive human rights violations against the Muslim Uyghur minority in Xinjiang.

Baerbock did not categorically rule out a boycott of the Olympic Winter Games in Beijing.

When asked how she felt about a boycott, she said: "When I see how China's leadership is handling the tennis player Peng Shuai or the arrested citizen journalist Zhang Zhan, we should of course also take a closer look at the Olympic Games."

Peng Shuai, the former world number one in doubles, published allegations of sexual assault by a top Chinese politician on the Weibo social network in early November.

The 35-year-old's post was deleted soon after.

Since then, athletes, politicians and human rights activists have expressed concern for the tennis player's well-being.

Zhang Zhan was sentenced to four years in prison a year ago for her critical reports of the corona outbreak in Wuhan.

Baerbock demanded her release: »Journalistic reporting is not a crime.

Zhang Zhan should therefore be released. "

CDU politicians are calling for more decisive politics

The three applicants for the CDU chairmanship also agreed that Germany and Europe should adopt a more decisive policy towards China.

"I advocate a strategy of the West that relies on strength," said CDU foreign politician Norbert Röttgen at a round of introductions to the three candidates for the successor to party leader Armin Laschet.

"China is the challenge of the international order."

Former CDU / CSU parliamentary group leader Friedrich Merz said the corona pandemic had shown how dependent the West was on China.

The consequence must be that the EU develop a China strategy.

"China has a Europe strategy, but Europe does not have a China strategy."

The executive head of the Chancellery, Helge Braun, also called for a joint China strategy for the G7 countries.

In the past few decades it was believed that globalization of the economy would lead to a kind of global world peace, because networking forced everyone to cooperate.

"And we realize that you can lose this competition too."

tfb / dpa

Source: spiegel

All news articles on 2021-12-01

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