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After Xinjiang Revelations, Germany's Ties to China Are Under the Microscope (spiegel.de)
75 points by siva7 69 days ago | hide | past | favorite | 48 comments

Maybe this should be replaced with the English version, which is also not behind a paywal: https://www.spiegel.de/international/world/after-xinjiang-re...

I love how eveyone is pretending that these revelations are anything new. Everybody knew this was going on for years and choose to pretend nothing was going on. All our western, democratic values are just a pathetic distraction in the face of our endless greed.

This is explained in the article:

    In their numbers and variety, these documents put the debate over Chinese in a new context: They provide evidence that is impossible to ignore for politicians, business leaders and society in all countries that interact with China.
Revelation is one thing, hard evidence is another.

The reports/allegations are decades old.

The reason why they are being promoted so heavily now is due to the changed relation between the US and China.

In fact the US used to drone bomb Uyghurs in Afghanistan and detain them away in Guantanamo.

Unless of course they need our tax money for the war machine, then all of a sudden it's "evil Putin invaded without proper cause" in your face 24/7. So you accept 40B is spend on a war, and not on fixing domestic problems.

I dont see how this Ukraine crisis is so much different from the west's invasions of Vietnam, Cuba, Iraq 1&2, Afghanistan, Libya, Syria and making Kosovo a sovereign state.

Many of the war you mentioned are approved by UN. So are you say UN is evil?

For example Iraq 1 started due to Saddam Hussain invade Kuwait.

Kuwait was drilling directionally into a Iraqi oil field. This has been kept from us in the news, but it is the real reason. Saddam wanted Kuwait to pay up. Kuwait did not so they got invaded. Exactly what the US needed to get in: more war, more oil contracts.

And yes the UN is evil. But that's besides the point. What leverage do you think Iraq has in the UN, vs what the US has?

> For example Iraq 1 started due to Saddam Hussain invade Kuwait.

... but it didn't start when he invaded Iran. i wonder why?!? (rhetorical question ofc).

So basically the new army green industrial policy is that those factories that used to make cars for export to China, are going to make weapons for an army about to double its size over the next couple of years.

All justified on “research” from victims of communism foundation or aspi which is directly sponsored by weapons manufacturers.

> All justified on “research” from victims of communism foundation or aspi which is directly sponsored by weapons manufacturers.

That's a classic ad hominem. It's also false that those are the only organizations that have found serious human rights issue in Xinjiang.

They are certainly the most hyperbolic.

Germany seems to have partnered with all the wrong countries lately. Russia, China... what's next? Iran?

Yes. I think it was Siemens who delivered or supplied parts for the centrifuges for enrichment for their nuclear program.

"What about...?"

     Only Nixon could go to China [1]
Germany? Lately? Every country in the Americas, Europe and also Africa has ties to China. In the long term we've lost industrial self-reliance, workplaces (jobs) with acceptable standards and now depend on microelectronics from China. Reason? Greed. Naming that just opportunism isn't enough. China has a strategic plan for their economy. In the EU politicians still believe in "free trade" and "market rules". Nothing in capitalism is fair nor free.

The seeling of KUKA Robotics[2] to Chinese investors was probably a turning-point in Germany. The problem is that Germany only slowly recognizes that it was wrong. Especially parts of the Social Democratic Party (SPD) still believe in this "Wandel durch Annäherung" regarding Russia. And the same argument was used for China. Free trade doesn't make friends or peace, it is just exchange.

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nixon_goes_to_China

[2] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/KUKA

PS: While politics shouldn't control every aspect of production a strategic control of essential industries makes sense. In this regard we could learn from China. Then we control under which conditions work is done.

"Free trade doesn't make friends or peace, it is just exchange."

But it is also exchange of knowledge, ideas, culture, morals and technology. It was trade that connected the world since ages and helped progress us all.

Nationalism on the other hand does not connect, but rather disconnects.

And goverment strategic control of essential industries? I am very sceptical that they can even identify the core essentials.

Because if this label means state protection and funding, then suddenly every industry will declare themself essential with the result, that those with the best connections to the politics, will win the race. Likely the car makers, VW and co.

Where do other countries get their smartphones and computers from?

Hopefully. Some of us still believe in change through trade.

> Germany seems to have partnered with all the wrong countries lately.

capitalism doesn't see countries as wrong. It's only political, public pressure that causes germany to capitulate and apply sanctions to russia.

This is probably the intended link (matching headline, in English, and not behind paywall):


Great but.. cannot read German. So google translate gives me..

How we delivered ourselves to China The Federal Republic is much more dependent on Beijing than on Moscow. After the torture disclosures by the Xinjiang Police Files, politicians must ask themselves: What crimes are we willing to accept for our prosperity?

Then a demand for membership payment

Maybe better reference and in English.

"The China shock: Germany turns away from its biggest trading partner": https://www.dw.com/en/the-china-shock-germany-turns-away-fro...

> Then a demand for membership payment

You sound like a machine-based text truncation is unacceptable.

But that's software developers' job, dude... Should we not do machine-based stuff at all because from time to time a harmless awkward situation pops up?

I think it's more of a complaint that the link was posted here; stuff behind paywalls isn't really on the web, after all.

For the non-Germans here, an extremely quick rundown both of the article and a bit of national debate context: during the last 16 years under Merkel, the German industry saw China both as a destination market for their goods (cars, machinery) and a place for cheap manufacturing of goods without having to take care about European standards for labor and environmental protection. Human rights issues took a backseat and the government was always eager to lobby for the interests of German companies in China, culminating with Merkel lobbying for now-infamous Wirecard [1]. Sooner or later, other European countries followed.

The result is a fatal dependence of Germany on China in both directions because the Western markets are pretty much saturated and as a result of two decades of globalization and market (i.e. labor cost) pressure local or alternative supply chains have long since shuttered. Politicians have been even too scared to act on hacking campaigns attributable directly to the Chinese government out of the fear that the industry powerhouses would "randomly" lose contracts or face other punishments - the fate of the two Canadians was a warning sign [2].

Now, with the change in government at the end of last year to a more left-centrist oriented government and the associated demise of importance of heavy-industry stooges in top politics as well as ever more leaks about just how draconian the Chinese government acts (the numerous videos on how people had literally to endure their doors being welded shut or their pets being slaughtered on the street during covid, and now the latest leaks on Xinjiang) and the complete screw-up of delivery chains are all but forcing a complete re-evaluation of very difficult questions on all levels:

- How long can Germany, the perpetrator of the Holocaust, keep ignoring what happens in Xinjiang, with concentration camps, genocide and forced labor allegations while claiming to have learned "never again" from the 1933-45 era?

- When delivery chains are broken anyway and will be so for a foreseeable future due to China's failure to link a zero-covid policy with actually working vaccines, what is the difference in cost to re-build supply chains somewhere sane (e.g. Vietnam or back in Europe) now or later?

- Is it safe for companies to invest in China, when the Chinese government can destroy their business with the stroke of a pen?

- How long can Germany keep quiet on Chinese industrial espionage?

- What to do with the Chinese "buying spree" of companies with national security/sovereignty interests like Kuka?

- How to react to China strong-arming itself into power across Africa and even in Europe by debt usury?

- How to prepare the industry and the country for the not-so-uncertain scenario that China invades Taiwan and as a result, there will likely be a decade of chip shortage when TSMC gets destroyed?

[1] https://www.zeit.de/politik/deutschland/2021-04/angela-merke...

[2] https://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-58687071

It's unfortunately not a problem unique to Germany. The entire western world has let the markets dictate industrial policy and, effectively with it, social policy. And so it's gone where the profits are, without any other considerations. And this happened even among more social democratic leaning countries like Germany or France (when compared to North America).

That combined with the convenient "end of history" narrative coming out of the 90s, in which deep trade links and deregulation of the market would inevitably transform these regimes in China and Russia into postmodern liberal states. I suppose it makes sense that Merkel -- herself a produict of the collapse of the DDR -- would find herself believing this. But this convenient myth continued to pervade western governments long after it was clearly shown to be not true.

Here in Canada a couple decades has been wasted trying to orient energy exports towards the Asia-Pacific. Pipelines to Pacific coastal waters has been a constant battle with environmentalists and different government levels, but the stupid thing is it doesn't even make sense economically or geo-politically. Oil pipelines for bitumen and huge LNG terminals destined for the Pacific coast... or to the United States. The former is not a good strategic market anymore, and the latter doesn't need our oil. Turns out the strategic market for our LNG should have been Europe all along. And now too late to pivot.

Democracy comes from people in the streets demanding it, from the people. Not markets or trade. It's right in the name of the thing. Clearly democracy in the "west" is also under threat.

Leadership in the west is terrible. In the most extreme form of it... Vacilating between Crazy Trump and Ineffective Clintonites. Putin must be laughing.

> How long can Germany, the perpetrator of the Holocaust, keep ignoring what happens in Xinjiang, with concentration camps, genocide and forced labor allegations while claiming to have learned "never again" from the 1933-45 era?

What's going on in Xinjiang has nothing to do with the Holocaust. Nobody is being killed in Xinjiang, which makes the use of the word "genocide" laughable.

Part of "never again" is remembering what Germany did, and comparing what's happening in Xinjiang to the Holocaust is frankly outrageous and shameful.

> How long can Germany, the perpetrator of the Holocaust

Can we stop blaming an entire country for what a small percentage of the population did 80 years ago?

Not even this small percentage is alive anymore.

The Germans born after the WWII shitshow don't deserve this blaming. Not even most people who were alive 80 years ago.

> The Germans born after the WWII shitshow don't deserve this blaming.

No one blames today's Germans for the actions of our ancestors. However, there is an obligation for every human, but especially for us as their descendants to ensure that the events that happened in 1933-1945 - the organized extermination of six million Jews and of hundreds of thousands of other people the Nazis deemed unworthy (travellers, homosexuals, the disabled, political dissidents, ...) never happens again.

I recommend a visit to the KZ Dachau (maybe an hour of travel with public transport from Munich, I'd say it is the one that is reachable for foreigners the best due to its proximity to the airport) or one of the numerous other historic Nazi sites - not just to Germans, but to everyone. Only when you see the evidence of what happened, you can really grasp it.

There is no blaming in GP's post. Just the notion that Germans themselves, of their own volition, are striving to not let history repeat itself.


China's not-so-democratic government nominally controls 15% of the global population, and a lot of the world's manufacturing know-how. The behaviour and standards that their leadership tolerates matters in a way nothing else does.

I don't think the situations in East Turkestan ("Xinjiang") and Palestine are even remotely similar?

There are no re-education camps in Israel that Israel declines? And on the other hand, in Israel, there is Gaza where they have no real authority and which is actively antagonistic against them?

Sure, Israel is occupying power on West Bank and preventing Gaza from getting supplies, but, it's on a different scale than what is happening in China?

I don't know enough to say how much power does Palestinian Authority actually have in West Bank; but it is much more self-governing anyway than anything they have in Xinjiang with Communist Party.

A lot of people have problems with Israel, but when the Republicans accuse Democrats of being anti semites when they bring them up, the criticisms get muted quickly, at least in American politics. I don’t understand Germany politics that well, but perhaps Israel is off limits because of history.

German here. Israel is totaly off limits here. The report of AI that stated the situation in Israel is apartheid was seeen very negative here. You cant critize Israel here without consequenz

I don't see that. For example, it has been the official position of the German government for at least 20 years to strongly criticize the Israeli settlements. There's regular critical reports in the press, endless TV discussions and so on. Can you name someone who has actually had to suffer negative consequences for reasonable criticism of Israel?

The critic is more than gently. If you are searching for responses to the apartheid critic of AI you will find mostly nothing going into the argument but mostly arguments against and relativations. Yes you can critic Isreal … but at first you have to see into the eye of the shitstorm coming to you and calling you antisemit. Sorry but even the harez is more openly critizing Israel.

It seems you're shifting the goal posts now. The fact that consensus criticisms are not as harsh as you'd like doesn't mean that Israel is "totally off limits". Discussions and criticisms are happening; and the fact that public opinion doesn't match yours can not only be explained by that opinion being suppressed, but also by it being wrong.

„totaly off limits“ was a bit over the top. Its only my personal perception. I travel a lot in europa and read different papers.. etc. Based on that whas my argument. And that is a personal opinion so not realy valid

Israel is so off-limits, most threads about other countries are derailed by people complaining they can't talk about Israel.

Off-limits in actual politics, not in futile political conversations between nobodies on internet forums.

He's saying israel is off limits in germany, not on HN.

Why is Israel held to a higher ethical standard than its neighbours in international media? It's almost as if not all countries are exactly the same and we have to talk about them within their context.

"No one is talking about X" is pretty much only ever said about political situations which generate enormous (disproportionate) amounts of discussion.


Do they actually pay you to post on HN or are you just providing your bad takes for free?

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