German companies remain on the market

Dthe images from the west of China, which are said to come from the servers of the Chinese security authorities, are hard to bear. In one photo, a pale girl looks worriedly at her kidnappers. Her name: Rahile Omer, from the Uighur ethnic group, only 15 years old when she was taken to a prison in the predominantly Muslim region of Xinjiang.

In another photo, a Uighur is sitting in a torture chair in front of Chinese police officers. Another shows ten heavily armed security guards. The second image of the scene documents who the Chinese are raising their battle rifles and batons against: two men kneeling on the ground, black caps over their heads, their hands tied in chains.

the true face

Federal Finance Minister Christian Lindner (FDP) finds the photos published by a group of international media on Tuesday “shocking”. It is well known that the Chinese government is committing systematic human rights violations against the Uighur minority under the pretext of fighting terrorism. For this reason, High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet has been in Beijing since Monday and wants to travel on to Xinjiang. The UN estimates that one million Uighurs were at one time held in prisons and re-education camps in the region.

But the new photos and data, which have been leaked to German anthropologist and longtime Xinjiang observer Adrian Zenz, show for the first time in great detail the identities of the imprisoned Uighurs, accusations of guilt and prison conditions documented by the Chinese authorities themselves. Some of them are in their teens, some in their 70s. Many have been sentenced to extremely long prison terms for “terrorist activities” for praying or going to the gym. The Chinese leadership’s claim that Xinjiang is a “vocational training camp” can no longer be substantiated.

Especially in the western world, the images reinforce the impression that the second largest economy is showing its true colors these days. Initially, the Chinese government did not want to leave Moscow’s side after the Russian attack on Ukraine. Then the dictatorship in the eight-week-long shutdown in Shanghai showed how brutally it treats the people, even in the main economic center, which unlike in Xinjiang is among the country’s elite.


Not to the public: image from a Chinese re-education camp
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Photo: Xinjiang Police Files

At the World Economic Forum in Davos on Tuesday, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg warned the West against sacrificing long-term security needs on the altar of economic interests. “Freedom is more important than free trade,” Stoltenberg said. “Defending values ​​is more important than defending profits.” In this context, Stoltenberg criticized the Nord Stream 2 pipeline project. But one should also think about trading with China. Nothing fundamentally speaks against trade with China, but it would be negligent to give China control of Western telecommunications networks in this process.

In Germany, too, the increasingly close economic ties with China, the largest trading partner, must be stopped, according to the federal government. Finance Minister Lindner announced Tuesday that “velvet spots because of our interests” should not exist. “The huge dependence of the German economy on the Chinese market” is “particularly depressing” due to the reports of human rights violations. Germany should immediately ratify the CETA Free Trade Agreement with Canada and enter into negotiations “with other value partners such as the United States” in order to “differentiate” Germany’s trade relations.

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