Why is it taking so long for the German government to abandon its failed China policy of 'change through trade'? A thread 1/11
When it comes to the People's Republic of China (henceforth #China), the German government has largely engaged in foreign trade promotion (Außenwirtschaftsförderung) 2/11
In his PhD thesis Norbert Schultes has pointed out that in foreign trade promotion the German government has let the private sector take the lead, which explains the highly corporatist approach 3/11

This makes foreign policy change through legislative means much harder, as the German government has essentially outsourced its foreign policy to the private sector 4/11

Outsourcing foreign policy to the private sector has also meant that corporate propaganda has always loomed large in the German public discourse about China 5/11
To justify trade and investments with an authoritarian China corporate lobbyists have for decades hyped the significance of the Chinese market for Germany’s traditionally export-oriented economy 6/11

German media has often uncritically amplified such corporate propaganda 7/11

I recently discussed this problem with a German media professional. In this conversation it became clear to me that groupthink contributed to this rather unfortunate practice among journalists 8/11

Germany's outdated China policy will only change if politicians and parliamentarians reassert the central role of the state and strengthen both democratic security and industrial policy 9/11

Academics and journalists should play their part by deconstructing both government and corporate propaganda which hypes the significance of China's market for Germany's export-oriented economy 10/11

Last but not least German citizens should take note of the totalitarian turn in Xi's China and demand an end to Germany's failed China policy of 'change through trade' /End


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More from @AMFChina

11 Sep
Germany's new policy paper on the Indo-Pacific region has led to speculation that Berlin may be about to change its traditionally Beijing-friendly foreign policy approach.

Not so fast. Here are the key takeaways from my @RUSI_org Commentary 1/13

While paying lip service to security matters, a more active German role is not aimed at strengthening the US-led security architecture in East & Southeast Asia.

In the guidelines' preface Foreign Minister Maas seeks to distance Germany from the increasing US–China rivalry 2/13
The new policy announcement also offers no critical self-reflection about Germany's failed 'change through trade' policy vis-a-vis China 3/13

Read 13 tweets
5 Sep
An "Interim Statement on the Implications of China’s New National Security Law for UK Universities" has been published by the British Association for Chinese Studies (BACS) @bacs_china. What follows is the statement as a thread. 1/22

"China’s new National Security Law of 1st July 2020 brings forth new considerations and challenges for employees in UK Universities as line-managers, mentors and teachers" 2/22
"BACS has signed the (US) Association for Asian Studies statement on the National Security Law, joining over twenty other scholarly societies." 3/22

Read 23 tweets
25 Aug
What does it mean to teach and research contemporary China under the conditions of the so-called Hong Kong National Security Law? 1/10
The key problem facing any scholar who deals with mainland China is Chinese Communist Party (CCP) censorship and the fear of losing access by being an outspoken critic of the regime 2/10
The CCP's so-called National Security Law effectively codifies the illiberal tenets of previous oral and written party directives such as the '7 Don't Speaks' and 'Document No 9'. It now directly endangers scholars, even those who work outside mainland China & Hong Kong 3/10
Read 10 tweets
9 Aug
Those who argue that Western China engagement led to the development of China’s civil society are only partly right. Civil society assistance has always been limited to few selected grant makers. Much more could have been done /1

For more context see also my open access research paper on how foundations—foreign and domestic, public and private, operating and grant making—have engaged with Chinese civil society organisations in an authoritarian political context /2

Another open access research article of mine showed how German development aid failed to comprehensively support participatory development in the PR China. The German government did too little to support China’s civil society /3

Read 4 tweets
28 Jun
“Double-track strategy” of “partnership” on climate change and “critical dialogue” on HK, human rights & market access etc. Such terms are frequently used by German politicians and diplomats, but in fact they obscure rather than elucidate Germany’s China policy /1
Germany's foreign trade policy towards China isn't "strategic" but transactional. German gov't seems beholden to narrow corporate interests of German car manufacturers & chemical industry. Putting so many eggs in the Chinese market also enhances the CCP's leverage over Germany /2
Or let's talk about "partnership" on climate change. An insane amount of coal power plants are currently under construction in China. Whenever the economy needs to be stimulated the Chinese party-state ignores international climate change agreements /3
Read 8 tweets
22 Jun
Despite its institutional shortcomings the European Union should not be oblivious of its considerable power. The power I am talking about is not the power of an aspiring hegemon, but of a civilian power which is mindful of its considerable leverage in global affairs 1/5 Image
When talking about the European Union's bargaining leverage vis-à-vis China, let's not forget that the European Union can make good use of three forms of leverage: negative, positive and normative leverage (David M. Anderson, 2014) 2/5

Negative leverage (leverage based upon the capacity to make the other side worse off), e.g. by restricting party-state backed investments in European industries which are of national security importance to the EU & its member states 3/5

Read 6 tweets

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