Archive for ‘Germany’

Wednesday, July 28, 2021

Special two-hour transmissions by Radio Taiwan International in German

As custom at Radio Taiwan international‘s (RTI) German service, there will be a number shortwave broadcasts directly from Taiwan this summer, as announced here.

qsl_card_2019_national_radio_museum_minxiong_taiwan

Weekday Dates
Friday July 30, August 6, August 13, August 20.
Saturday July 31, August 7, August 14, August 21.
Sunday August 1, August 8, August 15, August 22.

On each of the above days, there will be a broadcast on 11705 kHz from 17:00 to 18:00 hours UTC and one on 9545 kHz from 18:00 to 19:00 hours UTC.

We can probably expect one hour of different program items per day, at 17:00, repeated at 18:00 UTC. RTI’s German program output per day is about sixty minutes, but routinely, only half of it is aired on shortwave, as regular broadcasts via the Kostinbrod relay in Bulgaria are only 30 minutes long. The remaining half is provided online.

Saturday, July 3, 2021

Radio Taiwan International Shortwave Test Transmissions 2021 to Europe (updated)


Radio Taiwan International‘s (RTI) German service has announced test transmissions from Tamsui transmitter site, northwestern Taiwan, targeting central Europe on July 17 (UTC).

Time (UTC) Frequency
from to
17:00 17:10 11995 kHz
17:15 17:25 11705 kHz
18:00 18:10 9545 kHz
18:15 18:25 7250 kHz
RTI QSL: Shennong Street, Tainan

RTI QSL: Shennong Street, Tainan
中央廣播電臺 QSL卡: 台南 神農街

According to RTI, the two frequencies that do best during the tests will be chosen for one-hour transmissions that start later this month, and continue into August, apparently every week from Friday through Sunday. It sounds like a pretty ambitious schedule, and if lucky, we will get to listen to programs that are usually only available online as those broadcasts will be 60 minutes each.

Normally, Radio Taiwan International’s German service only broadcasts one half-hour program a day on shortwave, but its actual program output (shortwave and online) is about 60 minutes per day.
RTI welcomes reception reports.

Tuesday, May 4, 2021

Huanqiu Shibao: G7 London Meeting, small-circled cliques and factions

As he said before, it’s you, not us

The following is a translation of an article by Huanqiu Shibao online, published on Tuesday (May 4). Huanqiu’s translations from English do not necessarily reflect what the persons quoted there actually said.

The Reuters article referred to by Huanqiu Shibao can be found here.

Main Link: Evoking the China-Russia threat once again? (又渲染中俄威胁)

Bian Zihao, Huanqiu Online reporter — Hyping another Chinese-Russian threat? The G7 foreign ministers’ meeting in Britain’s capital London opened on May 3. According to Reuters, Britain will seek decisive action from the G7 member states to respond to global threats. Reuters says that these so-called “global threats” include China and Russia.

【环球网报道 记者 边子豪】又炒作中俄威胁?七国集团外长会3日在英国首都伦敦开幕,据路透社报道,英国4日将寻求与G7成员国采取果断行动以应对全球威胁。路透社称,上述所谓“全球威胁”包括中国和俄罗斯。

As it holds the G7’s rotating chairmanship this year, Britain also invited Australia’s, India ‘s , South Africa ‘s and South Korea ‘s foreign ministers this week. Reuters says that this is the first time in two years that G7 representatives talk face-to-face and that this is seen as an opportunity to “strengthening support for the international rules-based system.

作为今年七国集团轮值主席国,除了G7成员国外,英国本周还邀请了澳大利亚、印度、南非和韩国等国外长。路透社说,本次会谈是近两年来七国集团代表首次举行面对面会议,被英方视为“加强支持基于规则的国际体系的机会”。

Reuters also quoted Britain’s wording, an evocation of the so-called “China-Russia threat”, saying that China’s economic influence and Russia’s “evil activities” could break that system.

此外,路透社还引述英方说法,渲染所谓“中俄威胁”说,中国的经济影响力和俄罗斯的“恶意活动”可能会破坏上述体系。

The report also mentioned that on May 3 local time, U.S. secretary of state Blinken, after meeting British forign secretary Raab, called for the building of an international alliance. He claimed that although there was no intention to “contain China”, there was a need to make sure that China “acted in accordance with the rules”. In a program broadcast by Columbia Broadcasting System (CBS), Blinken explained his position similarly. He said there, “our goal isn’t to contain China, not to block China, not to inhibit China. (But) it is the protection of order-based rules to which China currently raises challenges …”

报道还提到,当地时间5月3日,在与英国外交大臣拉布会面后,美国国务卿布林肯呼吁组建一个全球联盟,他宣称尽管不想“遏制中国”,但要确保中国“按规则行事”。 而在5月2日哥伦比亚广播公司(CBS)播出的一档节目中,布林肯也曾有过相似表态。当时他说:“我们的目的不是遏制中国,不是阻止中国,不是压制中国。(而)是为了维护基于秩序的规则,(但)中国正在对(这些规则)提出挑战……”

The foreign ministers’ meeting is seen as a warm-up for the G7 summit in June. The G7 consists of Britain, America, France, Germany, Italy, Canada and Japan. Russia joined as the eighth country in 1997. In 2014, after the outbreak of the Ukraine crisis, Russia was excluded.

本次外长会被视为将于6月在英国举行的七国集团峰会的预热。七国集团由英国、美国、法国、德国、意大利、加拿大和日本组成,俄罗斯1997年加入后成为八国集团。2014年乌克兰危机爆发以后,俄罗斯被排除在外。

In reality, concerning talk about the so-called “China threat”, FMPRC spokesman Zao Lijian has previously emphasized that China adheres unswervingly to the road of peaceful development, we have never provoked a war on our own accord, and never violated an inch of another country’s territory, nor have we ever constituted a threat to any country. Facts have repeatedly proven that China has always been a builder of world peace, a contributor to global development, a protector of international order, and that China’s development is an opportunity for the world.

事实上,关于所谓“中国威胁论”,中国外交部发言人赵立坚此前曾强调,中国坚定不移走和平发展道路,我们从来没有主动挑起过一场战争,也从来没有侵犯过别国一寸领土,不对任何国家构成威胁。事实一再证明中国始终是世界和平的建设者、全球发展的贡献者、国际秩序的维护者,中国的发展是世界的机遇。

Zhao Lijian said that China’s development spells the growth of global peace, that it is the woeld’s opportunity and not a challenge. China has always firmly upheld the international system with the United Nations at the core, based on international law. But that isn’t an international order defined by individual countries to protect their own interests. In the age of globalization, the destruction of international order [happens] for real when lines are drawn along ideology and when countries form small-circled cliques and factions. In the end, this is what really doesn’t enjoy popular support and what doesn’t provide a way out.

赵立坚说,中国的发展是世界和平力量的增长,是世界的机遇而非挑战。中方始终坚定维护的是以联合国为核心的国际体系和以国际法为基础的国际秩序,而不是个别国家为维护自身霸权所定义的国际秩序。在全球化时代,以意识形态划线,拉帮结派,搞针对特定国家的小圈子才是对国际秩序的破坏。这终究是不得人心的,也是没有出路的。

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Related

Wolf Warrior Diplomacy on Vacation, Aug 9, 2020
An unprecedented common cause, June 7, 2013
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Tuesday, April 20, 2021

Genocide – an adequate Term?

Evidence without much psychological effect?
Click picture for source

In 2018, Adrian Zenz, a Senior Fellow in China Studies at the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation in Washington D.C., published evidence that Chinese authorities “re-education camps” in East Turkestan. Under the weight of evidence, including leaked documents from within China’s authorities, Beijing doesn’t deny the existence of such camps. Instead, members of China’s political class refer to them as “vocational schools”.

In a show that it takes Zenz’s publications seriously, Beijing included him in a blacklist of ten European scholars and lawmakers, in March 2021.

Zenz and many critics of China’s repression of ethnic minorities say that the policy on Uighurs and other Muslim minorities constitutes genocide. But there’s a catch, at least in Zenz’s case. In an interview with Switzerland’s Neue Zürcher Zeitung, Zenz said that for exiled Uyghurs, genocide was

… the only word that expresses adequately what they are going through as a people. For what is happening there, there is no adequate category. It doesn’t fit well into existing pigeonholes. Merely in accordance with the UN Convention it is difficult to talk about genocide, because one would have to prove that China intends to annihilate a significant share of the Uyghur population. There is only scant evidence for that.

… das einzige Wort, das richtig ausdrückt, was sie als Volk durchmachen. Für das, was da geschieht, gibt es keine richtige Kategorie. Es passt nicht gut in bestehende Fächer. Rein nach der Uno-Konvention ist es schwierig, von Genozid zu sprechen. Denn man müsste nachweisen können, dass China die Absicht hat, einen bedeutenden Teil der uigurischen Bevölkerung zu vernichten. Da ist die Beweislage jedoch sehr dünn.

Still, Zenz advocates the use of the term “genocide”, because of its “strong psychological effect”.

It is tempting to do so. As Zenz says himself, this could lead to change for the oppressed. But it misleads those under this effect.

China’s “Communist” Party claims to base its policies on science. That’s clearly not the case. But there is also reason to doubt that the West’s worldview is still based on its heritage of Enlightenment. You don’t brainwash people by claiming genocide where it doesn’t exist. But you manipulate them.

As urgent as change for the Uyghurs is, you don’t bring about sustainable change by calling a deer a horse. You don’t bring about change when you leave political decisions to corporations- like Volkswagen’s choice to run a car plant in East Turkestan. You don’t bring about change without informing the public accurately, teaching your children some basic values, and without trying to be truthful. And you don’t bring about change if corporations determine politics, rather than the other way round.

Trying to achieve psychological effects is nothing new. There is no lack of guides and advice about how to “engineer consent”. But doing so has adverse effects on a free society, without helping the oppressed. People are oddly aware when you  cheat them, even if they can’t tell how it is happening.

Such an approach isn’t only ethically questionable, but unpractical, too. Even the best intentions can create low-trust societies. At home, that is – not where the crimes are happening.

Thursday, January 14, 2021

Before you define your next China policy, learn from Lu Xun

Chinese nationalism has had its share of wishful thinking. But in recent decades, the West has fallen into similar traps, although its humiliations – the 2008 financial crisis and the flat-footed reaction of most Western countries to the Covid-19 pandemic – have been comparatively minor humiliations.

True story

But humiliations they have been, and nothing shows this more clearly than the way some of the West’s governments have reacted to China’s handling of the pandemic. To quote one of the more civil criticisms  – by Iain Duncan Smith, a former leader of the United Kingdom’s Conservative Party -, “the world would have had more time to prepare for the pandemic if Chinese leaders had been more forthcoming”. No worries, though, he switched into another gear right away:

For too long, nations have lamely kowtowed to China in the desperate hope of winning trade deals. Once we get clear of this terrible pandemic it is imperative that we all rethink that relationship,” he said.

Politics, that much is true, must never let a crisis go waste, and there are reasons to “rethink” the West’s, and possibly the world’s, relationship with China.

But China only bears a limited share of responsibility for this global crisis. If people in the West don’t understand that, they don’t understand their own political class.

We don’t need to reconsider our relationship with China because its role in the pandemic was questionable.

We must reconsider our relationship with China because we must not tolerate the way Chinese authorities treat Chinese citizens. Human rights violations often hit “national minorities” like Tibetans or Uyghurs hardest, but the political malpractice doesn’t stop there.

We must reconsider our relationship with China because in Hong Kong, Beijing has shown complete disregard for the rule of law, within Hong Kong’s autonomy (that’s nothing new, China has never understood the concept of autonomy anyway), and complete disregard of international law.

We must reconsider our relationship with China because in the South China Sea and other international waters, China has adopted a policy of annexation.

And we must reconsider our relationship with China, because with his “Resist America, Aid Korea” speech in October, Chinese CPC secretary general and state chairman Xi Jinping has made China’s disregard for international law official, by suggesting that Maoist China’s war against the United Nations had been a “war against imperialism”.

There may be some reason to believe that many within the CPC believe that the speech has been a non-starter, because they haven’t dwelled too much on it in the media since, and because the faces of many of the leaders during Xi’s speech appeared to speak volumes. But there is no reason to believe that Xi’s speech wasn’t an honest attempt at rewriting history, at the expense of truth. This attempt must be taken seriously.

All that said, when reconsidering our relationship with China, we must not walk into the Ah-Q trap. This is something we might learn from China indeed: the way Chinese intellectuals used to be self-critical was part of China’s more recent successes, just as China’s more recent pompousness and triumphalism may earn it serious setbacks.

The same is true for us, and especially for those who consider themselves our “elites”. For decades, China has been described as an opportunity too big to miss, and to justify throwing valuable Western-made technology at it. To make this foreign-trade salad more palatable to the general public (and arguably also to the propagandists themselves), China-trade advocates added that trade and engagement with China would lead to improvements in the country’s human rights practice, or its economic and social system.

“The party is over,” a long-forgotten “expert” crowed in the 1990s, in a huge, long-forgotten book. Others suggested that the CPC might become a “social-democratic” party. But nobody seemed to ask the CPC people if they had any such intentions, at least not seriously. And if they did, they only heard the answers they wanted to hear.

There was never a doubt that China’s political system is a dictatorship. And when that dictatorship began to succeed economically and technogically, quite a number of Western intellectuals, and especially business people, began to admire that dictatorship:

I have fantasized–don’t get me wrong–but that what if we could just be China for a day? I mean, just, just, just one day. You know, I mean, where we could actually, you know, authorize the right solutions, and I do think there is a sense of that, on, on everything from the economy to environment. I don’t want to be China for a second, OK, I want my democracy to work with the same authority, focus and stick-to-itiveness. But right now we have a system that can only produce suboptimal solutions.

Don’t get me wrong either. I don’t think Thomas Friedman argued in favor of the introduction of authoritarianism, let alone totalitarianism. But he didn’t apply any logic – and he’s no exception among Western intellectuals. He’s full of ideas and without a plan when it comes to these issues.

Because if we could be China for one day, we could be China every day. And then we would be the kind of society that we now want to reconsider our relationship with. (OK, maybe not Friedman.)

But the worst thing is to think of ourselves as Santa. The guys who only want the best for China, etc.. I’m pretty sure that half of my fellow Germans, in as far as they have misgivings about China, don’t worry about China’s human rights record. They worry about its economic clout, and the preparedness of a lot of Chinese people to work harder, for less income, then we would.

That’s legitimate self-interest, but nobody should confuse this interest with something like international solidarity. To do that, to suggest that “we are nice, we are generous, we’ve done everything for them, and they are bloody ingrats” is typical Ah-Q thought.

No, guys. Our bosses threw our technology at China, technology developed with support of public institutions we paid our taxes for. That’s what our bosses usually do. Sometimes at the Chinese, sometimes at other promising markets. But as our bosses’ greed for profits from China knew no limits, they fooled themselves, too. Occasionally, they complained once it went wrong. But this wasn’t “Chinese” greed – they only picked up what was thrown at them. And even if they never told us that they would make good use of it, with or against the law, daily practice could have shown us in a year that this transactional model wouldn’t work – at least not for the West.

China – not just the CPC, but most of the Chinese people – have always told us that their rightful global place was at the pole position.

They have always told us that they would “re-take” Taiwan, once they had the power to do so.

Every bloke in the street told us that Hong Kong was no stuff to negotiate about – it had been taken by the imperialists, and had to be retaken by China. Besides, those Hong Kongers shouldn’t think of themselves as “special”. Yadayada.

We played along, one year after another. We still do. I’m afraid we’ll continue to do so. Our governments, for example, keep participating in the diplomatic charade to this day that, for some incomprehensible reasons (depending on what individual Western nation’s memoranda with Beijing have made up out of thin air), Taiwan wouldn’t be quite a sovereign country.

In short: it was hard to get China wrong, but we managed anyway. And if we don’t stop suggesting that our intentions in this relationship had always been honest, we won’t get our next China policy right either.

To reshape our relationship with China, let’s learn from Lu Xun first.

Sunday, December 27, 2020

Happy New Year

railway vision (archive)

 

Saturday, September 5, 2020

China-Germany Friendship Association: “A Rise in unpredictable Factors”

If “people-to-people” organizations are crucial for Beijing’s diplomacy (it didn’t look like that in recent years), former Chinese ambassador to Germany, Shi Mingde, could be facing a rather challenging partial-retirement duty as the new head of the “China-Germany Friendship Association”. As far as the quotes in the following report provide clues, Shi seems to strike a mainly positive note on Sino-German relations, but less so than the overall “Chinese People’s Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries'” president Lin Songtian, once “China’s most outspoken ambassador in Africa”.

This was in early August, before foreign minister Wang Yi started his European tour, but Shi, even if using the lot of sugarcoating that we had been used to prior to Xi Jinping‘s Major-Country Diplomacy with Chinese Characteristics, also alluded to some deficits in German-Chinese relations.

The following is a translation of the report on the China-Germany Friendship Association’s conference of August 6 local time. Links added during translation.

china.com.cn (China Net, 中国网) is an online news portal under the Chinese state council’s (i. e. government’s) administration.

China Net photo, click main link underneath for article

Main Link:
Former Chinese ambassador to Germany, Shi Mingde, elected chairman of China-Germany Friendship Association.

China Net, August 7 news (reporter Wang Ran). On August 6, the China-Germany Friendship Association conference was held in Beijing. Senior diplomat and former ambassador to Germany Shi Mingde was elected as the China-Germany Friendship Association’s new president. The conference also elected a deputy president and a secretary-general, passed a sixty-names’ directorate list and a China-Germany Friendship Association statute.

中国网8月日讯 (记者 王冉)8月6日,中国德国友好协会(以下简称:中德友协)换届大会在京举行。中国资深外交官、前驻德大使史明德当选新一届中德友协会长。大会还选出副会长、秘书长,通过了新一届理事60人名单和中德友协章程。

Ambassador Shi Mingde said in his address that ever since the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and Germany 48 years ago, the two countries’ relations of friendly cooperation had reached unprecedented development. The two sides’ joint interests had always outweighed division and contradictions. The two countries’ political relations were well, and economic and trade cooperation had provided substantial mutually beneficial results. But at the same time, German public opinion about China hadn’t seen fundamental improvement, and the foundations of public opinion in the two countries needed further consolidation (两国民意基础有待进一步夯实). German chancellor Angela Merkel would end her political career next year, after 16 years in office. This could lead to a rise in unpredictable factors.

史明德大使在致辞中称,中德建交48年来,两国友好合作关系得到前所未有的发展,双方共同利益始终大于分歧和矛盾。两国政治关系良好,经贸互利合作成果丰硕。但与此同时,德国对华舆论环境没有根本改善,两国民意基础有待进一步夯实。明年德国总理默克尔将结束执政16年的政治生涯,中德关系未来的不可预测因素可能上升。

Shi Mingde said that the China-Germany Friendship Association, in its coming years, would play a leading role in people-to-people [or non-governmental] exchanges with Germany and create a great platform for people-to-people exchange with Germany. [It would] speak out actively and let more German masses understand a real and objective China. It would promote Sino-German regional exchanges and serve regional economic development. He hoped that the China-German Friendship Association could, under the guidance and with the support of the Chinese People’s Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries, continuously promote the friendly exchange and mutually beneficial cooperation between the two countries’ peoples, and the rise of Sino-German friendly cooperation to the next level.

史明德表示,新一届中德友协要在对德民间交往中发挥引领作用,打造对德民间交流大平台;积极对外发声,让更多德国民众了解一个真实、客观的中国;促进中德地方交流,服务地方经济发展。他希望中德友协能在中国人民对外友好协会的指导和支持下,不断推进两国民间友好交流与互利合作,促进中德友好合作更上一层楼。

Chinese People’s Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries’ president Lin Songtian said at the conference that China and Germany were both firm supporters of globalization and multilateralism, with common interests and similar positions concerning the protection of world peace and justice. Currently, there were 99 partnerships between Chinese and German provinces, federal states and cities, and 1.5 million visits in either direction per year. He believed that under the new president’s leadership, the China-German Friendship Association would attract broader masses to participation and exchange, promote the mutual understanding between the two countries’ peoples, learning from each other and setting examples for each other, promote closer attachment and connectedness, to contribute more people-to-people wisdom and strengths to the deepening of the Sino-German comprehensive [『 全方位』, not just『全面』 ] strategic partnership.

中国人民对外友好协会会长林松添在换届大会上表示,中德都是全球化和多边主义的坚定支持者,在维护世界和平与正义、促进全球合作与发展繁荣等方面拥有广泛的共同利益和相近立场。目前,中德友好省州和城市有99对,每年有150余万人次互访。他相信,中德友协在新任会长领导下能吸引两国更广泛民众参与交流,促进两国人民相互了解、互学互鉴,实现民相亲、心相通,为深化中德全方位战略伙伴关系贡献更多民间智慧和力量,更好造福两国人民。

After the conference, Shi Mingde gave China Net an interview. He said that on July 1, Germany had taken the European Union’s rotating chairmanship for the current half-year term. This year was a critical period for Sino-European relations, and as the chairing country of the EU, Germany picked up an important role. “I hope for the EU’s and Germany’s joint efforts, to send a positive signal of support for multilateralism and against unilateralism, [a positive signal] of cooperation and mutual profits.”

史明德在会后就中德双边关系接受了中国网采访。他说,7月1日,德国接任欧盟轮值主席国,开启为期半年的任期。今年是中欧关系的关键时期,作为欧盟轮值主席国的德国起着至关重要的作用。“我希望与欧盟和德国一起共同努力,向世界发出坚持多边主义,反对单边主义,合作共赢的积极信号。”

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Related

“It’s not going well,” Washington Post, Sept 2, 2020

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Sunday, August 9, 2020

Wolf Warrior Diplomacy on Vacation, while Party expects Returns on Investment

Twitter can be fun, but would be a waste of time if all the information you can get passes by without some reflection on it. Learning by repetition. Here goes.

China’s recent diplomacy has been referred to as wolf warrior diplomacy (戰狼外交) in recent months – or in fact for years (as Sweden can tell) -, but it has become a much more frequently used term with the COVID-19 crisis.

As Washington and Beijing traded accusations and conspiracy theories about the COVID-19 origins during the first half of 2020, Beijing’s propaganda machine continuously switched gears between angry statements and more or less funny cartoons on “social media” platforms like Twitter, depicting Trump administration officials as dorks or hypocrites. Chinese foreign ministry (FMPRC) spokesman and communications director Zhao Lijian as well as Chinese media outlets like CCTV-English, People’s Daily in English, Xinhua news agency etc. took leading roles in “anti-American” (反美) enunciations.

But wolf warrior diplomacy apparently didn’t lead to results that would have satisfied Beijing after all. On Tuesday (August 4), China’s ambassador to the US, Cui Tiankai, told an NBC anchor and a wider online public that

The normalization of relations between our two countries and the growth of this relationship over the decades has served the interests of both countries and the world very well. It’s quite clear to all of us are still enjoying the positive outcome, the benefit of this growth of relationship. Nobody can really deny this.

Societal differences should provide opportunities for mutual learning, Cui suggested.

Cui himself didn’t have to make a u-turn to emphasize the “positive outcomes” of Sino-US relations – he had never been a wolf warrior diplomat anyway, and Washington wouldn’t have been the place to test these fruits of Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era / Xi Jinping Thought on Diplomacy anyway. And when he made the essential swipe – there needs to be one in every Chinese representation to Americans these days, to show that the speaker is not afraid of his audience -, he smiled as if he wanted to apologize for what he was saying.

Click picture for video

His boss, foreign minister Wang Yi, didn’t have to turn everything upside down either. But to show that Xi has always been a great supporter of dialogue, he inaugurated a Research Center for the Guiding Role of Xi Jinping’s diplomatic Thought at the FMPRC on July 20.

According to “Radio Free Asia” (apparently not safely verified), fifty-centers have been told to switch their messages from “anti-American” to “double-win” (click picture for details)

Thusly illuminated, foreign minister Wang addressed an online forum of American and Chinese think tanks (including Henry Kissinger and Kevin Rudd, apparently) on July 9, Germany’s foreign minister Heiko Maas in a video conference on July 24 (not without informing his colleague in Berlin that the problems in Chinese-American relations are all created by America), and, most recently, the readers of Communist Party organ “People’s Daily”.

Chances are that US secretary of state Pompeo and his network have struck the right note in communication with Beijing during the past months, and distancing from China could become a bipartisan American policy. However, the Trump administration may not be able to take traditional allies as far along in their cause as they would like to.

Australian foreign minister Marise Payne told a press conference with US secretary of state Michael Pompeo that “we make our own decisions and we use our own language”, and that “the relationship with China is important and we have no intention of injuring it”.

Sydney Morning Herald correspondents wrote on August 1 that Joe Biden, the US Democrats’ presidential nominee, was

expected to be closer to what Australia is trying to do: transition to a multipolar region where Beijing is accommodated but counterbalanced by regional powers including Australia, India, Indonesia, Japan, Vietnam and the US.

At times, Trump and Pompeo’s approach seems to be an attempt to maintain the US as regional hegemon – something Canberra quietly gave up on a few years ago.

[Lowy Institute executive director] Fullilove says in some ways a Biden administration would be tougher on China and may make requests of Australia which are harder to refuse.

The correspondents also pointed out that both Japan and New Zealand, while basically following the US / Australia lines, had kept a rather low profile, thus protecting their trade interests with China.

Germany wasn’t exactly the first country either to throw a gauntlet at Beijing, or to publicly take note of China’s internment policies in East Turkestan, or its breach of international law by imposing its “national security law” on Hong Kong. Berlin’s position was further complicated as Germany’s leadership currently chairs the EU in a rotational arrangement, having to find as much common ground among Beijing-leaning EU member states and more resilient members.

Only when Hong Kong’s government announced a “postponement” of Legislative Council elections by a year, ostensibly because of the special administrative region’s COVID-19 crisis, Germany joined other countries and suspended its extradition treaty with Hong Kong. On August 3, French foreign ministry sharply criticized Beijing’s “national security law”, and halted ratification of its extradition treaty with Hong Kong, which had been in process since 2017.

A few days earlier, and five days after his conversation with Germany’s foreign minister, Wang Yi had been on the phone with his French counterpart Jean-Yves Le Drian,

Austrian public radio ORF‘s China correspondent Josef Dollinger arguably provided one of the more succinct summaries of European policies. Asked on July 29, the morning when the EU governments presented their agreed reaction to Beijing’s Hong Kong policy, if Washington’s chances of isolating Beijing could be successful, he said that conflicts with China could not be painless, and that while

you can ride a tiger gone wild without getting bucked off – difficult as that may be -, you shouldn’t keep shouting “I’ve got him, I’ve got him.”

Man kann zwar auf einem wild gewordenen Tiger reiten, ohne abgeworfen zu werden – auch wenn’s schwierig ist -, aber man sollte dabei nicht ständig rufen, “ich hab’ ihn, ich hab’ ihn”.

In the EU, disappointment about stalling talks on a comprehensive investment treaty with China have likely added to a hardening position.

And while America’s allies have resisted Pompeo’s calls to join them on the warpath, it does appear that China underestimated the impact of its Hong Kong policies, at least in democratic countries.

All the more, Wang Yi himself, too, tries to stick to a script that would paint China as the natural and predetermined victor to emerge from the beginning struggle. Among some double-win promises, he also threatened America with history’s pillar of shame (恥辱柱).

No matter how much, or little, pressure China may feel as a whole, Beijing’s diplomats are having a tough time of it. It is one thing to open a Xi-Jinping shrine at the FMPRC. To deliver on hard issues is another. The leadership and its personality core have significantly raised investment in diplomacy. They will expect more than just damage control in return.

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