- Wirecard: Merkel and the meeting with Xi
- CO2 limit tax as an opportunity for China?
- China’s third aircraft carrier in final assembly
- London fines CGTN
- Beijing reportedly censored online search for ‘stock market’
- Minxin Pei: Why China’s Hong Kong crackdown could backfire
The media dispute between London and Beijing over CGTN and the BBC is, unsurprisingly, also being played out on the journalists’ playground Twitter. The EU correspondent of the state-run daily China Daily, Chen Weihua, made fun of the fine imposed on CGTN by the British media regulator Ofcom there: “Is the UK that broke?” he wrote. You can read about the background to the fine in today’s News section – it’s not unlikely that there will be more resentment brewing on both sides of this issue in the future.
Trouble is also looming in the Bundestag, and for Angela Merkel: For a long time, there was talk of a routine procedure when the Bundestag’s investigative committee talked about the German chancellor’s influence on the China business of the scandal company Wirecard. However, it is becoming increasingly clear that this was at best only half the truth. Finn Mayer-Kuckuk has the latest developments in the case.
Shandong and Liaoning are already in the service of the Chinese Navy – this year, a third aircraft carrier is now to be added. Gregor Koppenburg and Jörn Petring present the new ship, its technology, and China’s associated quest for even more world power status.
Wirecard: Merkel and the meeting with Xi
Trouble is brewing for the chancellor in the Bundestag. In the review of the Wirecard affair, her involvement with the scandalous company during a trip to China in September 2019 was once again the big topic on Wednesday. The opposition MPs presented an interim status of the committee’s work in Berlin – and came back again and again to the disastrous misjudgments of the Chancellery in connection with Wirecard. Merkel must answer the committee’s questions on 23 April.
Florian Toncar, a member of parliament from the FDP, gave his outlook on Wednesday on Merkel’s suspected defense strategy, which he deduced from the interrogations of her staff and confidants during the committee’s work so far. “She will say that her involvement with Wirecard on the China trip was a routine procedure” – after all, she constantly advocates for German companies abroad. In doing so, she will downplay the role of Karl Theodor zu Guttenberg, who, as a lobbyist, had previously promoted Wirecard in the Chancellor’s Office. However, this is the crucial point, she said: It is possible for advisors like zu Guttenberg to bring a company against which accusations of fraud are already mounting to the top of the agenda in the Chancellor’s Office. This raises doubts about the ability of the responsible officials to judge – and sheds light on who the German government believes: windy consultants with interesting sounding names instead of serious media that report critically.
Misjudgement in the Chancellor’s Office
In retrospect, it is clear that Merkel made a mistake by promoting Wirecard in China. At the time, the financial services provider from Aschheim near Munich was still considered a star of the German business world: Finally, a German company that was playing in the world of high finance with algorithms and the like. But the deep fall was already in the offing. Various media, above all the British Financial Times, were already reporting on fraud, money laundering, and inflated balance sheets. In June 2020, the house of cards collapsed. It turned out that billions had lied together through fictitious transactions alone. Today, the name Wirecard stands for the biggest economic scandal in German post-war history.