Europe Must Recognize China for What It Is
Chinese President Xi Jinping will meet the heads of state and government of the 27 EU member states at the EU-China summit in Leipzig in September. Europeans need to understand that they will hand him a much-needed political victory unless he is held accountable for his failure to uphold human rights, particularly in Tibet, Xinjiang, and Hong Kong.
MUNICH – Neither the European public nor European political and business leaders fully understand the threat presented by Xi Jinping’s China. Although Xi is a dictator who is using cutting-edge technology in an effort to impose total control on Chinese society, Europeans regard China primarily as an important business partner. They fail to appreciate that since Xi became president and General Secretary of the Communist Party of China (CPC), he has established a regime whose guiding principles are diametrically opposed to the values on which the European Union was founded.
The rush to embrace Xi is greater in Britain, which is in the process of separating itself from the EU, than in the EU itself. Prime Minister Boris Johnson wants to distance the United Kingdom from the EU as much as possible and to build a free-market economy that is unconstrained by EU regulations. He is unlikely to succeed, because the EU is prepared to take countermeasures against the type of deregulation that Johnson’s government seems to have in mind. But in the meantime, Britain is eyeing China as a potential partner, in the hope of reestablishing the partnership that former Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne was building between 2010 and 2016.
The Trump administration, as distinct from US President Donald Trump personally, has done much better in managing its ties with China. It developed a bipartisan policy that declared China to be a strategic rival and put tech giant Huawei and several other Chinese companies on the so-called Entity List, which forbids US companies to trade with them without government permission.