World Economic Forum in Davos
Human rights organization demands clear statements against China's hostage diplomacy (Press release)
On occasion of the World Economic Forum in Davos, the Society for Threatened Peoples (STP) demands the representatives from industry and politics to clearly condemn China's hostage diplomacy. "If China wants to continue its rise to a world economic power, the country must also respect internationally recognized rules. The fact that foreigners are arbitrarily detained to punish other states and to push through own political agendas is hurting the global economy, and it undermines confidence in legal security in China. Thus, the People's Republic might become internationally isolated," warned Ulrich Delius, the STP's director, in Göttingen on Tuesday. The human rights organization strongly condemned the arbitrary arrest of Canadian citizens in China in retaliation for the arrest of the Chinese top manager Meng Wanzhou (Huawei Technology Group) in Canada.
Canadian businessman Michael Spavor and former diplomat Michael Kovrig, who now works for the human rights organization International Crisis Group, have been in Chinese custody for six weeks. They are accused of activities to undermine Chinese state security, and they might be facing long prison sentences.
In the international economy, there are growing concerns that increasing arbitrary arrests might also affect nationals of other countries. "If, say, Germany decided not to grant Huawei Group any 5G licenses – possibly for safety reasons – German business people might be at risk in the People's Republic," Delius warned. "This is an absurd situation. Individual citizens cannot be held responsible for actions of governments or countries – and it is absolutely wrong to harass individuals to put pressure on their nations."
The Chinese government warned Canada not to publicly address the fate of the detainees in the scope of the meeting in Davos. "Obviously, China's leaders don't understand how dangerous their behavior is for the global economy," said Delius. "Not only out of solidarity with Canada, but also out of self-interest, Germany's business leaders and politicians should no longer remain silent about China's hostage diplomacy." On Monday, 116 scientists and 27 former diplomats from 19 countries published an open letter to Chinese President Xi Jinping, demanding the imprisoned Canadians to be released, emphasizing that the issue might lead to a loss of confidence in China.
Header image : Henry Kissinger via Wikimedia Commons