Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Visit to China: SPD economy Minister Sigmar Gabriel in Beijing – SPIEGEL ONLINE

He is something of a grey Eminence in the Chinese policy. He has the confidence of the most powerful man, the President and the KP General Secretary Xi Jinping. It is said to be more powerful than the second man in the state, more powerful than the Prime Minister Li Keqiang.

And this summer, as he that has settled in an anonymous Interview with the debt policy of this Prime Minister, it was probably. In the Interview, he said only, “an authoritative personality”.

The man’s name is Liu He, and this Tuesday, the German Vice Chancellor and economy Minister was supposed to meet this authoritative personality. Actually. Because the Meeting was not to be, Liu suddenly had visited no more time for Sigmar Gabriel, of the these days in Beijing, Chengdu and Hong Kong.

Gabriel accused China of “aggressive commercial practices”

Political observers values, the cancellation of the meeting as probably the clearest sign of the hosts that you do not approve of the sharp attacks of Gabriel against the investment policy of China in Germany miss. Recently, the economy had stopped to Minister to the already approved sales of the German mechanical engineering group Aixtron to Chinese investors, in order to check whether or not military reasons.

The Chinese shopping tour in one of Germany’s High-Tech industry, China’s new security laws, the discrimination of German companies in the red Empire – all that Gabriel does not fit. In the run-up to his trip, he accused the Chinese of “unfair and aggressive commercial practices”.

Instead of the conversation with the President-the Familiar Liu visited Gabriel the journalists to take the tea shop, a traditional Chinese residential area – without, however, in his entourage. Pictures of this walk through Beijing would have been a clear Symbol of the Chinese rejection.

“Oh, I”

know to the Public, the Minister showed up instead, again in the evening in a Museum. With the painter Zeng Fanzhi, he strolled to the large format landscape paintings, expressionist portraits along, ostentatiously relaxed, he was in front of the camera people. “Oh, I know,” said the SPD leader, as he discovered on one of the portraits of Karl Marx.

Gabriel knew that he would be in Beijing, not a very warm welcome given. Even before he had boarded the government machine in Berlin-Tegel, sent the Chinese a couple of clear messages.

the state-controlled media let the Communist authorities against “protectionism” the EU bettors that China would like to give a market economy status, but at the same time new trade defence instruments against China wool impose. Behind it, as it seems to be safe, put the Germans, in particular, with which the Chinese leadership combines a kind of love-hate relationship.

subsidised price dumping

The EU Ambassador wanted to respond in a replica on the, in his opinion, false claims, and in the daily newspaper “China Daily” published. The reply of the Austrian remained lying for a week in the drawer of the editorial Board, until it protested, in turn, sharply against this censorship.

Diplomatic, nick brightnesses were the prelude to what’s got to listen to Gabriel in his talks with the trade Minister as well as Prime Minister Li Keqiang. You’ve communicated the points of view, “in plain words,” said Gabriel at the end of the first day of the Visit – a little dressed up diplomatic phrase for: frosty atmosphere.

The Chinese keep the criticism for a insolence. You have it as a developing country, have every right to fight back against foreign companies that want to use the Land only as a cheap work bench or as an importer of luxury items for the small top layer.

Gabriel is not, however, to be on the right course because the country as the second largest economy in the world should be, as a developing country fairs, but as a country that was in an industrial competition on a par with Europe and the United States. Germany might not be the most open economy in the world, when even countries such as the USA and Canada took with protection mechanisms against the sellout to China.

Vice Chancellor Gabriel with artist Zeng Fanzhi


Vice-Chancellor Gabriel with artist Zeng Fanzhi

That’s his Mantra, which he had agreed with the German Chancellor Angela Merkel, he always says. Because the biggest conflict the two countries are in dispute over Chinese steel exports at dumping prices, with which China is flooding the European market. The Chinese over-production is more than Double of what is produced in the European blast furnaces. The steel workers in Germany, one can not expect that.

waves flatten to a certain degree

Gabriel claimed on Tuesday as a success, and that the Chinese would not have attempted in the first place, the state-subsidized price dumping to deny. You have explained to him instead, almost apologetically, that they could not close the plants in the Chinese province of simple production, without the local population and policy protested.

Gabriel tried to smooth his troubled waves, to a certain extent. He wants to signal to stakeholders with views of the voters in his home on the one hand, distance to the red power, but on the other hand, the differences are not too far adrift, the basis for political talks to maintain. And then I think it would be calculus, a statesmanlike figure on his way to a possible SPD Chancellor candidate.

This balancing act as the economy Minister to him in his recent travels to Russia and Iran, is not always successful. In the God state about President invited him to the Parliament. On the refusal of the powerful presidential adviser in China now, muttered Gabriel, you are assured to be credible, that the Lord had really been due to force majeure, is prevented.

With the painter Zeng in Beijing it was probably, ultimately, much more pleasant. “So what is your next project?”, Gabriel asked him. Subsequently, Zeng led him into a dark, quiet room, hung with pastel-coloured watercolours and a fluffy carpet was laid. How pleasant.


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