“Did German Chancellor Olaf Scholz really have the option not to go to China? »

mehen welcoming German Chancellor Olaf Scholz in Beijing on Friday, November 4, Chinese President Xi Jinping uttered a common-sense but ambiguous sentence: “Destroying mutual political trust is easy, rebuilding it is difficult. » One would like to see the beginning of a self-criticism there, but he is not the type of the house. Therefore, it is a warning. And yet! After ten years of Xi Jinping’s exercise of power, the simple act of talking with Beijing has become suspicious for many Westerners. In the United States, a new McCarthyism around alleged “chinese friends” it is even emerging. It would be dangerous for Europeans to follow this slope.

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Xi Jinping lives in a bubble, at the same time health, ideological and information. The interest of Westerners is that it explodes. Even without fooling ourselves, a trip like Olaf Scholz’s can contribute to this. Can we seriously reproach a Chancellor, who has been in power for almost a year, for “rush” in China when he was already in Tokyo and received the Indian Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, in Berlin? Should she have gone there with Emmanuel Macron, as he seems to have wished for the Elysee? This is to forget that, ceremonially, the French president would have been received with all the honors and that the chancellor would have only played the role of a puppet. Should Olaf Scholz have been satisfied with an interview with Xi on the sidelines of the G20 soon to be held in Indonesia? His very firm statements about Russia, about Taiwan, about human rights would have had less weight than they did, expressed in the People’s Palace in front of the press.

Olaf Scholz had more to lose than gain by making an official visit to Beijing. Germany is one of the western countries where the image of China is worse. But did he really have a choice? China, the world’s second largest economy, is simply unavoidable. It is true that it now represents a risk, in part due to Xi Jinping’s nationalism. It is true that growth there is weaker every year. But, rightly or wrongly, many industrialists and financiers continue to think that this risk is worth taking. As the German Jörg Wuttke, who chairs the European Chamber of Commerce in Beijing, pointed out, “There are no two countries like China”.

New York to Hong Kong

Criticism of China from the media, researchers and human rights activists should not mislead us: the world’s most populous country continues to attract business circles. An anecdote proves it. On the night of Monday, October 31 to Tuesday, October 1Ahem In November, an anonymous tweet written in Chinese indicated that Beijing would quickly end its zero covid policy. It did not happen anymore because, in forty-eight hours -despite the lack of confirmation by the Chinese authorities, quite the opposite-, the MSCI China stock index, which groups the main Chinese stocks, gained 450,000 million dollars. A colossal amount that says a lot about the expectations of Wall Street and the City. Also, at the same time, the gratin of global finance – the heads of BlackRock, Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, HSBC, Standard Chartered, Credit Suisse, JP Morgan, Pimco and Carlyle – were in Hong Kong to hear John Lee, the new chief executive, boasting of the charms of his city that has passed under the yoke of Beijing. A month ago, the same John Lee, former Hong Kong police chief, said [se] mock “ United States sanctions against him. We understand. You don’t need to go to New York. New York comes to him.

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