Scholz in China
NGOs are demanding a European China policy
On Friday, the World Uyghur Congress (WUC), the Tibet Initiative Deutschland (TID), Freiheit für Hongkong e.V., and the Society for Threatened Peoples (STP) criticized German chancellor Scholz’ visit to China. During a press conference held by Scholz and China’s Prime Minister Li Keqiang, the present journalists were not given an opportunity to ask questions. “In our letter to the chancellor, we had already criticized that he failed to coordinate with his European partners. Instead, he decided to travel to Beijing directly after the crowning of Xi Jinping. A visit with prior coordination would have sent a signal to Beijing that Germany is abandoning its focus on bilateral relationships. Now, China’s leadership can continue its policy of ‘divide and rule’ in the EU. Actually, Europe should demonstrate unity regarding questions of human rights. Scholz could have sent an important signal – but the chancellor failed in this regard,” stated Hanno Schedler, the STP’s expert on genocide prevention and the Responsibility to Protect, in Göttingen on Friday.
In the run-up to his visit to China, Scholz had already been criticized for only taking along a delegation of business leaders to his meeting with Xi Jinping. The civil society had to stay at home. During the press conference, the topic of human rights was only mentioned briefly. “It is a disappointment that the genocide crimes against the Uyghur people are treated merely as an issue of different viewpoints on human rights. Now, Germany must take measures – together with its international partners – to hold the Chinese government accountable,” emphasized Dolkun Isa, President of the Uyghur World Congress.
The chancellor’s statement did not mention the human rights violations in Tibet nor the issue of Hong Kong. “It is a disappointment that the chancellor did not use his public statement to take a stand for human rights and democracy advocates. It is not enough to stay in contact with China with regard to issues of human rights violations. More than 800,000 Tibetan children were sent to colonial boarding schools in which they are reeducated to become government-loyal Han Chinese – an attempt to wipe out the Tibetan identity,” stated Tenzyn Zöchbauer, head of the Tibet Initiative Deutschland (TID). Amy Siu, Secretary General of the initiative Freiheit für Hongkong added: “We are also more than disappointed that the chancellor did not comment on the issue of Hong Kong. There must be consequences to the human rights violations in Hong Kong and in other regions. The plan to ‘stay in contact’ will allow the Chinese government to avoid having to take responsibility for its actions.”
The organizations emphasized that the new China strategy of the German Federal Government should be transformed into a European China policy – with a stronger focus on human rights. Over the next few weeks, Scholz should meet up with representatives of the Uyghurs, Tibetans, Hong Kongers, and the Chinese democracy movement who fled to Germany due to being persecuted by the Chinese Communist Party.