Criticism of the Bavarian Minister President’s visit to China

Söder must demand compliance with human rights

“In the course of his visit to China, Markus Söder has so far failed to address the Communist Party’s crimes,” the Society for Threatened Peoples (STP) criticized the foreign trip of Bavaria’s Minister-President on Tuesday. “If he continues to adhere to his mantra of realpolitik rather than moral politics until the end of his visit, he will make himself a useful lackey of Chinese propaganda,” stated Hanno Schedler, STP expert on genocide prevention and the Responsibility to Protect. 

“A realistic policy towards China would mean using meetings with high-ranking politicians to discuss forced labor and family separations. During the planned meeting with Prime Minister Li Qiang, Markus Söder should thus demand respect for human rights,” Schedler demanded. 

At the beginning of his visit to China, Söder visited Sichuan, Bavaria’s partner province. “There, too, Tibetan children are separated from their parents and sent to Chinese forced boarding schools,” Schedler reported. Last month, several Tibetans were arrested and beaten up by security forces in Sichuan for peacefully protesting against a dam project. The Chinese government is guilty of so many internationally recognized human rights norms that not even a prime minister should remain silent – especially when visiting the affected regions,” Schedler added.  

At the same time, it is becoming more of a challenge for Bavarian companies to keep their supply chains in China free of forced labor – even outside the Uyghur regions of Xinjiang and East Turkestan. As Uyghur forced laborers have been transferred to other regions, there is now an increased risk that products manufactured in China could be the result of forced labor – as documented by researcher Adrian Zenz. “Minister-President Söder must address these problems. This is also important for German companies that are active in China,” Schedler said.