- Interview with Oliver Blank of the electronics association ZVEI
- Port of Tianjin as digital pioneer
- Memorial service for Jiang in the Great Hall of the People
- Cities relax Covid restrictions
- Protest at China embassy in Berlin
- No Huawei ban in Germany
- London rejects new China embassy
- Fosun buys Cenexi
- Heads: Scor – German rapper in Shenzhen
- So To Speak: What is an IQ-Tax?
China remained largely quiet over the weekend. Only isolated protests were reported. It is unclear whether this was due to the massive police presence, controls on communications in social networks, or simply the cold in northern China. However, the first effects of the protests are obvious: Many cities have relaxed mandatory testing and quarantine rules since Friday, as we summarize in our News section. The party leadership is aware that the situation is more fragile than usual. This is one reason the memorial service for the late state and party leader Jiang Zemin will be held in the easily guarded Great Hall of the People.
Our interview with the German Electro and Digital Industry Association (ZVEI) once again shows, from a German perspective, that it is tricky to find the right level of economic engagement with China. The People’s Republic is more important for the German electronics industry than ever before. Nevertheless, Oliver Blank, responsible for global affairs at ZVEI, argues in an interview with Felix Lee for a tougher position on the People’s Republic, preferably in cooperation with France and the EU. Blank currently works on the German government’s China strategy and believes that what is known about it so far is a good basis for discussion.
However, China can also develop new technologies on its own, as the modern logistics of the Port of Tianjin shows. The port is a pioneer in digitalization in China, as Frank Sieren notes. Many vehicles at the container terminals are autonomous. The port is ahead of Hamburg, for example, in this respect and is also set to become a model port in the People’s Republic.
‘Turning away from China would come at a high price’
Mr. Blank, the first draft of a China strategy from the Green-led Foreign Ministry has surfaced. The Ministry of Economics, also led by the Green Party, has contributed to it. What do you think of the draft?
Oliver Blank: I have read through the 60 pages by the Foreign Ministry, and I have to say that it is a remarkable paper. At the same time, I know that many experts worked on it, and we also had the opportunity to make a contribution. I would have set one or two priorities differently. But basically, I think it is a solid basis for discussion. Of course, it is important that the German government ultimately comes up with a coherent strategy. After all, geopolitics, security interests, human rights, climate, and the economy must be considered simultaneously when dealing with China. European coordination is also important. We are not alone in Europe.
Are there disagreements between Brussels and Berlin? The Foreign Ministry seems to have adopted the triad of partnership, competition, and rivalry toward China.