- Ukraine crisis also impacts the Iron Silk Road
- Strictly regulated war coverage
- Tech companies fear sanctions
- Xi and Biden pick up the phone
- Envision supplies batteries to Mercedes
- ICT confirms death of Tibetan artist Norbu
- CO2 fraud
- Johnny Erling: China’s language remains toxic
The “wolf-like nature” of the enemy makes it easy to fight them “bitterly and bloody”. When commonly used expressions degrade entire groups of people and incite hatred against them, they embed themselves in people’s minds. In today’s column, Johnny Erling warns about China’s ossified friend-foe speech. Propaganda introduced them under Mao and never adjusted them. In times of international strife, it’s a dangerous idea to label supposed enemies as animals and to leave no room for self-doubt. But China’s diplomats rather believe in the West’s “anti-Chinese chorus” than question the toxic terminology in their own country.
What does China hear about the war in Ukraine? On Tuesday, we already analyzed the picture painted by Chinese media. In today’s issue, Amelie Richter describes which reporters are traveling in Ukraine for China’s private and state channels and what drives them. Of course, there is no such thing as an objective portrayal of the war. This makes it all the more important to understand what interpretation of events is taking root in China. And this is also vital for assessing Beijing’s possible role in ending the invasion.
Meanwhile, the economic fallout continues to spread. In two other articles, we look at the growing disruptions to railway connections and the fear of Chinese companies of US sanctions. Julia Fiedler asked logistics experts if the Silk Road trains continue to roll. They do. But problems arise elsewhere. Insurers could cause problems if precious cargo travels through sanctioned Russian territory. The consequence: canceled freight transports.
The indirect effect of sanctions is also causing headaches for major Chinese corporations. They hesitate to fill the gap left by the withdrawal of Western companies, our Beijing team analyzes. The arrest of Huawei’s chief financial officer in connection with Iran sanctions has already shown the leverage the USA wields. And the entirety of Russia is economically weaker than some Chinese provinces. The anti-Putin alliance, on the other hand, dominates the global market.
Disruptions along the Iron Silk Road
The “Iron Silk Road” has long since become more than a romantic idea, it has become a reality in cargo transport between China and Europe. The pandemic even brought a real boom to rail transport. In 2021, goods worth almost €70 billion were transported from East to West by rail – 50 percent more than in 2020, and ten times as much as in 2016. The containers mainly contain machine parts, electronics, and other goods such as metal products, chemical products and clothing.
But the war in Ukraine has called the reliability of rail lines into question. So far, the problem is not so much the conflicts themselves. After all, the usual routes do not run through Ukraine anyway. Instead, the main concern is legal matters, such as sanctions and insurance coverage. “It wouldn’t be a surprise if companies that wanted to ship their goods by rail before the invasion now switched to the slower but more reliable sea route,” says Jacob Gunter, an economist at research institute Merics. Gunter sees uncertainty stemming from a rapidly changing geopolitical environment as a significant risk to rail transport. This, he says, will exacerbate supply chain problems, as many transport operations have recently shifted to rail.
The effects are already being felt in practice. Although trains have been running reliably so far, some companies are canceling their bookings for rail shipments, reports a spokesman for German port operator Duisburger Hafen AG. Its port is the second most important terminal for the Germany-China freight train connection after Hamburg. A common fear among companies is said to be that international insurers could cancel insurance coverage provided by Belarus and Russia, the spokesman said.