Smash China (II)

BERLIN/BEIJING (Own report) - Applauded by the German President and officials of the German government, the laureate of a prominent German cultural award made a plea for smashing China to pieces. China is a "heap of rubbish," he said, it must "be dismembered," insisted the Chinese author, Liao Yiwu, a resident of Germany, who was awarded the prestigious Peace Prize of the German Book Trade last Sunday. His acceptance speech, in which he made a plea for dismembering his native country, received hefty applause from German President Joachim Gauck and other government officials. This diplomatic affront occurred only a few days after the German Foreign Minister and his Chinese counterpart had signed a "Common Declaration," in which Berlin declared its intentions to enhance its "strategic partnership" with Beijing. On the one hand, this declaration has resulted from the fact that, because of China's economic strength, Germany, for the time being, needs a certain form of cooperation, not only to satisfy the business interests of its enterprises, but also to get support in solving the Euro crisis. On the other hand, the applause for Liao's recent anti-Chinese invectives shows that Berlin still considers Beijing as its rival to be combated, on a long-term basis.

"Heap of Rubbish"

Sunday, the exiled Chinese author Liao Yiwu declared during his acceptance speech for the Peace Prize of the German Book Trade, that the Chinese nation must be "dismembered." He said, China is an "infinitely huge heap of rubbish" - a "dictatorial (...) great empire," in which "many regions and peoples are forcibly chained together." It must be dismembered into numerous small countries - "for the sake of peace and peace of mind of the whole of humanity." A situation should be sought, in which Tibet, for example, is "a free country," in which "borders separate Sichuan from Yunnan." Sichuan and Yunnan, are two provinces of China, which Liao evidently would also like to see become separate countries. Liao said that the famous philosopher Laozi, who is supposed to have lived in the 6th Century BC, had made a plea for the creation of "smaller countries with fewer inhabitants." Back then, China was in fact comprised "of innumerable small splinter states." Although, he says, "throughout this period, the fires of war were never" extinguished, "one nation has permanently occupied the others." Nevertheless, Liao says in essence that the People's Republic of China must absolutely be replaced by numerous small nations.[1]

Sponsored by the Foreign Ministry

The weekend appeal for smashing China, has significance through Liao's connections to German politics. The author, born in 1958 in the People's Republic of China, has been in serious conflict with the Chinese authorities since the 1980s and has spent time in jail. After his works were made available in German translations in 2007, German government agencies endeavored to win wide publicity for him. Liao's planned appearances at the Frankfurt Book Fair in October 2009 as well as at the International Literature Fair (lit.COLOGNE) in the spring of 2010, had been explicitly endorsed by the German Foreign Ministry, which was aware of him being an opponent of the Chinese government, but authorities in Beijing thwarted these appearances. The author came to Germany in 2011, where he has since resided, living on a scholarship from the Foreign Ministry financed, German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD). After receiving the Geschwister Scholl Award (2011) of the Bavarian Regional Association of the Stock Market Society of the German Book Trade, Liao has now received the even more prestigious Peace Prize of the German Book Trade, which, according to its official explanation, is awarded each year to a person, who has "contributed to the realization of the idea of peace." Sunday, when the author called for smashing China, the German President, the President of the German Bundestag, Germany's Minister of Education, along with numerous other prominent German officials attending the ceremonies, applauded.

Business Interests

Liao's invectives, which were widely acclaimed in the German media, were uttered only a few days after the German Foreign Minister and his Chinese counterpart had signed a "Common Declaration." Guido Westerwelle had visited China during the second half of last week, to celebrate the 40th Anniversary of diplomatic relations between the Federal Republic of Germany and the People's Republic of China. Using the occasion, he pointed to the fact that Berlin, in the meantime, has established a "strategic partnership" with Beijing - since China has become a "great power center," to which Germany wants to strengthen its ties.[2] On the one hand, this is because of very strong German business interests, developing out of China's growing economic influence. The People's Republic has developed into Germany's second largest supplier and fifth largest customer, both with an upward trend, as well as an important location for German investments. During Chancellor Merkel's most recent visit alone, company contracts were signed with a composite value of several billion US dollars. Volkswagen has announced new investments worth billions. In addition, Berlin is also seeking Beijing's support in helping curb the Euro crisis.[3] The Common Declaration, signed October 11, 2012, provides for new steps toward a closer cooperation, including an annual "strategic dialogue" between the foreign ministers as well as regular "consultations" of the chiefs of staff.[4]

Secessionists as Allies

The significance of the developing cooperation with the People's Republic can now be seen in the applause for Liao Yiwu's anti-Chinese invectives. While Berlin, for the time being, is intensifying its cooperation in the interests of German businesses and measures to gain control of the Euro crisis, it is simultaneously intensifying its contacts to those forces, who could potentially become Chinese allies in opposition to Beijing. Liao Yiwu is exemplary in two ways. First, he calls for China to be dismembered and thereby joins the secessionists, who had already begun to implicate the Federal Republic of Germany in the second half of the 1980s. This was particularly the case of the old Tibetan feudal clique around the Dalai Lama. He had been disempowered in the 1950s, subsequently waged an underground war against Beijing, without success, in spite of comprehensive western support - particularly from the CIA. He is today in exile in Dharamsala, India, where he continues to pursue his struggle against the People's Republic of China. Their structures and some of their subversive activities have been supported by Germany. ( reported.[5]) Since some time, Germany has been giving the secessionist activities of the Uyghurs in western China's Xinjiang province much more attention.[6]

Ambitious Middle Class as Partner

Secondly, Liao, in Berlin's views, seems apt to infiltrate social settings that can be brought into position against the Chinese government on a long-term basis. These are the ambitious, for the most part, urban influenced and middle class, whose growing profit and power interests could one day compel them to join with western liberalizers against Beijing. This has been the idea propelling Berlin's efforts, over the years, to win partners among the Chinese civil rights activists and artists, accessible to the West. They, in the long run, could gain beneficial access to the middle classes. This explains German support for the 2010 Nobel Peace Prize laureate, Liu Xiaobo, who does not want to completely dismember China, but still transform it into a loose confederation of relatively independent units (a "federal republic"). ( reported.[7]) German sympathy for the Chinese artist Ai Weiwei, who, like Liu, is in conflict with the government of the People's Republic, is also derived from this aspiration of winning allies from among the culturally interested middle classes. Liao Yiwu, who would like to see China smashed, which is why he is now being awarded a German peace prize, falls into this same category.

Further information on Germany's policy toward China can be found here: Intensifying the Pressure, The Next Shooting War, China's Boom and German Reactions, A Ring of Fire around China and Maritime Arms Race.

[1] Liao Yiwu: Dieses Imperium muss verschwinden; Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung 15.10.2012
[2] Strategischer Partner China; 12.10.2012
[3] see also Dimensionen des Kalten Krieges
[4] Gemeinsame Absichtserklärung über die Vertiefung der Zusammenarbeit zwischen dem Auswärtigen Amt der Bundesrepublik Deutschland und dem Außenministerium der Volksrepublik China
[5] see also The Olympic Torch Relay Campaign, Mobilize at Any Time and Smash China
[6] see also Strategies of Attrition (IV), The Future of "East-Turkestan" and Alliance against Beijing
[7] see also Germany Versus China (III), Federal Republic of China and Der Nobelpreiskampf