The Chinese Opposition's Foreign Hub

BERLIN/BEIJING | | china

BERLIN/BEIJING (Own report) - With its professionally choreographed reception of Hong Kong activist Joshua Wong, Berlin is presenting itself to the international public as the Chinese opposition's foreign hub. Wong was personally welcomed in Berlin by the Foreign Minister, and, he demanded at the Federal Press Conference that action be taken against China. Germany has already granted asylum to two other dissidents from Hong Kong, who had been calling for the city's secession from China and have been indicted for their participation in riots. For decades, Uighur separatist associations have had their foreign operational base in the Federal Republic of Germany, including one accused of participating in preparations of the pogrom-like riots, which claimed the lives of nearly 200 people. German politicians are supporting Tibetan separatists as well - seeing them as a point of leverage for weakening the People's Republic of China. A Chinese writer, who called China a "pile of garbage," was awarded the Peace Prize of the German Book Trade.

Secede Tibet

For many years, western powers, including the Federal Republic of Germany, have been using the Tibet conflict as a point of leverage for weakening the Chinese state. Whereas some of the Tibetan clergy traditionally have been willing to cooperate with Beijing, others have been in conflict with the People's Republic of China. Their demands range from ever greater autonomy, all the way to secession, with some even demanding the secession of "Greater Tibet," which would not only include the autonomous region of Tibet, but Chinese provinces as well. Since the 1980s, a Tibet lobby has been established particularly in the West, in which the Dalai Lama, who is based in India's Dharamsala plays a key role. Since the mid-1980s, the demands of the Tibet lobby have been regularly picked up by German politicians, with, in particular, the Green Party and the FDP-affiliated Friedrich Naumann Foundation serving as its mouthpiece. The Friedrich Naumann Foundation has also organized several international conferences, at which the Tibet lobby could coordinate its political activities. At one such conference an international campaign was organized, attacking the Olympic Torch Relay ahead of the Olympic Games in Beijing in 2008. Managed by professional public relations, the campaign caused considerable damage to China's image. (german-foreign-policy.com reported.[1]) In September 2007, Chancellor Angela Merkel ostentatiously received in the chancellery the Dalai Lama, who was at odds with Beijing.[2] Three German parliamentarians, including the Bundestag's Vice President Claudia Roth (The Greens) created a stir in mid-Mai 2018, when they received Lobsang Sangay, the president of the self-proclaimed Tibetan government in exile.

Secede Xinjiang

The West is also using controversies in western China's Xinjiang province as a second point of leverage. There are two conflicts intermingling. On the one hand, secessionists have long been active in the Autonomous Region of the Turkic-speaking Uighurs. They seek to have Xinjiang secede from China, to found "East Turkestan," some even with the idea of fusing with the Turkic-speaking regions of Central Asia and establishing a "greater Turkish empire." On the other hand, Islamist forces have been on the rise since the 1990s in Xinjiang’s social conservative rural areas. Terrorist attacks by Uighur jihadis have claimed numerous lives over the past few decades. Up to today, the Turkistan Islamic Party, a union of Uighur jihadis is fighting alongside the al Qaeda offshoot Hayat Tahrir al Sham in Syria’s Idlib Province. (german-foreign-policy.com reported.[3]) Uighur exile organizations have been active in the Federal Republic of Germany and agitating for the Xinjiang's secession from China, already since the late 1970s. The World Uighur Congress, with its headquarters in Munich, plays a central role in the globally operating association of Uighur activists. The congress is being accused of having been involved in the preparations of the pogrom-like attacks on Han Chinese in July 2009, in Xinjiang's capitol Urumqi, resulting in the murder of at least 197, including at least 134 Han Chinese.[4] May 8, 2019, the President of the World Uighur Congress, Dolkun Isa, gave a report on the situation in Xinjiang to the Human Rights Committee of the German Bundestag.[5] Among the organization's most loyal German supporters is the Green parliamentarian Margarete Bause, spokesperson for Human Rights and Humanitarian Aid of her party's parliamentary group.

Smash China

Alongside the support for Tibet and Xinjiang's separatists, Berlin has always supported those from China's middle class milieu, who are in political conflict with the Chinese government. In 2010, for example, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs explicitly praised the Nobel Peace Prize being awarded to the Chinese dissident, Liu Xiaobo. A political program, "Charter 08," co-authored by Liu, included among the demands, one for the transformation of the People's Republic of China into a federally organized republic, along the lines of the Federal Republic of Germany, which would entail a reversion of the nationalization measures undertaken by Beijing since 1949.[6] Liu Xia, the widow of the Nobel Prize laureate, who died July 13, 2017, has been living in exile in Berlin since July 2018. For a while, the dissident artist Ai Weiwei, who moved to the German capital in 2015, had served as the key witness against Beijing. However, he is only seldom seen now, since he expressed sharp criticism of German conditions and announced that he was planning to leave. The German society thinks of itself as "being open," but it shields " itself, above all," criticized Ai. It does "not really accept other ideas and arguments," and has "little respect for unconventional voices."[7] On the other hand, the Chinese poet Liao Yiwu, who has been living in Berlin since 2011, remains loyal to Germany. In October 2012, during his acceptance speech at the reception of the Peace Prize of the German Book Trade, Liao declared that China is an "infinitely large pile of garbage," where "many regions and peoples are forced to be tethered together" and must be broken down into numerous mini-states.[8] At the award ceremony, numerous prominent German officials applauded after Liao's demand that the People's Republic of China be smashed - Germany's President included.

Secede Hong Kong

Last year, at the latest, Germany began to also make itself a name as an exile platform for the Hong Kong dissidents. In May 2018, for example, the first two men from China's metropolis were given asylum in Germany. The two members of the "Hong Kong Indigenous" organization, seeking to secede the city from China, had been arrested in the night of February 8, 2016, for their involvement in the bloody riots in the Mong Kok District, where several hundred persons had attacked police officers with bottles and stones - wounding 80 - and set cars on fire.[9] Monday night, the Hong Kong activist, Joshua Wong arrived in Berlin and was immediately welcomed by Foreign Minister Heiko Maas. Wong is Secretary General of the Demosisto Party, which campaigns for a referendum, where also Hong Kong's future secession from China should be voted on. Even before his arrival in Germany, he had announced that he was coming to explore whether Germany would be a suitable exile country for other Hong Kong dissidents. In fact, there are numerous demonstrators facing sentencing for having vandalized subway stations and the local parliament building, attacked police officers with stones and Molotov cocktails, as well as set fires near police stations. On the weekend, thousands of demonstrators called on President Donald Trump to intervene.[10] Their protests correspond to the well tested escalation strategy methods, applied also, for example, in 2014 in Ukraine.

Germany Interferes

With a professionally choreographed reception for Wong, Berlin is also making its mark as the Chinese opposition's foreign hub. However, the disparate milieu, who have found refuge and support in Germany - Buddhists as well as Muslim separatists, controversial artists, liberals, suspected rioters - all share a single objective, to put an end to the People's Republic of China, as it currently exists, and if possible - smash it. By allowing them to take the world stage and providing access to the foreign minister, Berlin is brazenly interfering in the domestic affairs of the People's Republic of China. The fact that the German government would itself categorically forbid comparable interference of foreign countries, can be seen in the fashionable - although in many cases unproven - accusations that Russia interferes in the domestic affairs of western countries. The scandal, it would cause, if, for example one of the leading activists of the protests of the G-20 Summit in Hamburg would have been given asylum in Moscow, or if the Chinese Foreign Minister would have welcomed him for talks, is easily imaginable.

Forgotten Crimes

Berlin's current interference in China's domestic affairs is being carried out, in spite of Germany's role in the late 19th and early 20th Centuries, as one of the main participants in the crushing of the Chinese Empire - even including colonial mass murder. Although what was done then, is hardly known today in the population of the Federal Republic of Germany, it is general knowledge In the People's Republic of China. german-foreign-policy.com will soon report.

 

Please note our video column on the conflict with China.

 

[1] See also The Olympic Torch Relay Campaign.

[2] See also Strategies of Attrition (I).

[3] See also Setting the Sights on East Turkestan (I).

[4] See also Setting the Sights on East Turkestan (II).

[5] Besorgt über die Lage religiöser Minderheiten in China. bundestag.de Mai 2019.

[6] See also Federal Republic of China.

[7] Swantje Karich: "Berlin ist die demokratischste Stadt Europas". welt.de 09.08.2019.

[8] See also Smash China (II).

[9] See also Proteste in Hongkong.

[10] See also Protests in Hong Kong (II).