China’s Charm Offensive Shouldn’t Deflect Europe on Rights

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02/15/2023

After the Chinese government reversed its draconian “Zero Covid” policy and fully lifted pandemic restrictions, it is now beaming a new message into Europe: China is open for business. Beijing appears to have replaced its abrasive “wolf warrior” diplomacy of recent years with a charm offensive in Europe amidst its rocky relations with the US as evidenced by the “spy balloon” incident. This message is beckoning to some politicians and corporations in Europe’s heartland. In November, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz brought a big business delegation to China. French President Emmanuel Macron will soon visit Beijing. Volkswagen’s executives reportedly have been visiting China, where the company has recently deepened investment. It has a factory in Xinjiang, where there have been credible reports that the Chinese authorities are subjecting Uyghurs to forced labor. In mid-February, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi is expected to attend the annual Munich Security Conference.

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