- Annette Schavan on 50 years of German-Chinese relations
- Dependence on antibiotics from China
- Hong Kong judges sentence teenagers and journalists
- VW software: One billion euros for joint venture
- Covid numbers on the rise again
- Heads: Taiwan expert Josie-Marie Perkuhn
- So To Speak: Pocket-sized wisdom
Are conditions in China worse today than during the Cultural Revolution? Certainly not in the overall picture. In today’s Table.Media interview, Annette Schavan talks about the establishment of diplomatic relations between Germany and China in 1972. Willy Brandt was the German chancellor at the time, and Mao Zedong was the ruler of China. Professors were herded through the streets as enemies of the people, Buddhist temples burned, and society became brutalized. As Chair of the German-Chinese Dialogue Forum, Schavan now urges people to the mindset of the 1970s and to speak with Beijing even when conditions in the country are difficult. Today, things are still easier for us than they were 50 years ago.
This Tuesday marks the official anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations. It is understandable, on the one hand, that German politicians did not want to be caught up in the celebratory mood on the Chinese side. After all, China sided with Russia in the wake of the Ukraine invasion, while Germany was dragged into the energy war. On top of that, China’s diplomacy resorted to threats against Taiwan. What is also regrettable is that this anniversary has not been used at all in recent months to open new communication channels. The current crises show how important a minimum of understanding is to avoid fatal miscalculations
Schavan is by no means naive here, by the way. She believes that Beijing also has an obligation to approach Germany. “China must end its strategy of reticence and show the signs of openness of times past,” the former research minister of Germany demands in conversation with Felix Lee. After all, we are still mutually dependent on each other.
Dependence of a more sensitive kind is the subject of today’s analysis. The vast majority of antibiotics used in Germany come from a handful of Chinese manufacturers. In other words, China could cut us off from vital medical supplies, writes Maria Koepf. This gives impetus to demands for subsidies to boost European penicillin production. Greater independence for vital pharmaceuticals would not be dangerous decoupling, but simply common sense.
‘We should not carelessly squander what relationships we have’
Ms. Schavan, is there really any reason to celebrate 50 years since the establishment of diplomatic relations, given the current strained ties between China and Germany?
The 50 years have borne much fruit. That is why there are good reasons to look with empathy at our relationship with China. I believe that the attitude once expressed by Helmut Schmidt is correct: We are dealing with a five-thousand-year-old culture. This should encourage us to become even more competent when it comes to China.
How would you describe Germany’s current relationship with China?