- Ambassador Schaefer talks about the “Zukunftsbrücke”
- Internet companies outdo one another in charity
- BDI demands distinct boundaries
- Car sales continue to plummet
- SMIC builds new factory
- Tensions at talks on climate protection
- EU seeks common approach
- Profile: Rasmus C. Beck
In China, big companies are outdoing each other with big donations right now. Alibaba set the bar with the equivalent of 13 billion euros – two-thirds of its last annual profit. Our team in Beijing has been investigating whether the money is really benefiting “general prosperity,” as state and party head Xi Jinping has recently pressed for. Perhaps the philanthropic generosity also serves as an effective strategy to dampen the party leadership’s ire toward billionaires and large corporations?
Michael Schaefer, former ambassador to China, regards civil society relations with China with concern and hope. Concern, because the channels of communication have narrowed considerably, even though dialogue is crucial right now. Hope, because there are still access points. In Monday’s interview with China.Table, he explains how these may be accessed. Schaefer, meanwhile, warns against the idea that China will yet become a democracy along Western lines. He nevertheless calls for respectful dialogue at eye level. There is simply no alternative.
The IAA Mobility trade show starts today in Munich. So this week, we take another look at various car trends.
I hope your week starts well,
“No dialogue is achieved with moralizing lectures”.
Disclaimer: This interview has been translated into English and is not considered an official translation by any party involved in the interview.
Mr. Ambassador, over the past ten years, the “Zukunftsbrücke” program has brought more than 240 young people with professional experience from China and Germany together. However, the channels of communication with China have also become very narrow during this time. Can you tell us again what was possible back then?
I had the idea for this project back in 2008, one year after my arrival as ambassador to China. Even then, there was a lack of informal channels for discussing contentious issues between Germany and China in a spirit of trust. We, therefore, wanted to establish a process that would open up new avenues of sustainable understanding. The Atlantic Bridge served as a model. It was to be a program over a longer period of time, bringing together future leaders from both countries. Each year, 15 young leaders from each country, not just “one-track specialists” but exciting people from all parts of society. In this way, we wanted to bring as many different perspectives as possible to the exchange on topics of common interest.