If Sino-German relations cross your radar screen as a topic of significance, then it is certainly worth your time to read JustRecently’s link-rich roundup of the recent state visit to China by German Chancellor Angela Merkel. I would only add to his comprehensive rush of sources that this Spiegel investigative piece on alleged espionage by China in Germany got quite a bit of play in the month before the visit, including a front-page piece in the Frankfurter Allegemeine Zeitung on June 21. Fortunately for the PRC’s trade representatives and diplomats, Germans seemed to be much more engrossed in the World Cup at the time. But the idea of “economic espionage” (which is admittedly not something I understand a great deal about) has the potential to grab a hold of certain sections of German public opinion which are engaged in the China trade.
Incidentally, along the lines of adding even a small grain of value to the discussion, I went to the Chinese Embassy in (old East) Berlin earlier this month and was impressed (but not surprised) at the number of bilingual copies (English-Chinese) they had about the March 2008 events in Tibet as well as of the 2009 report on Human Rights in the USA. The People’s Daily overseas addition was, of course, still wrapped in plastic.
The Falun Gong protesters were outside the Embassy, as they have seemingly been outside of every Chinese consulate or embassy I have ever visited since the year 2000, in fact, handing out literature across the bridge. It appears clear from the Spiegel report, referenced in this summary Epoch Times piece, that Falun Gong practitioners in Germany have played an important role in the recent China controversies in Germany. Please note that the link contains some rather familiar attacks on China’s anti-Falun Gong apparatus and a particularly heavy-handed description of a Chinese state security organ as “Gestapo-like”. Really, Epoch Times? Is that adjective necessary?
Primarily the previously referenced article is useful for its link to Germany’s newly released report from the Department for the Protection of the Constitution (Verfassungsschutzbericht), whose English-language site is here. China has been taking some hits in Germany, and this is one of the more overt ones.
Since the report probably won’t be translated into English (or Chinese) anytime soon, here are some excerpts and my summaries of the hot spots in the annual report for 2009 which relate to Chinese intelligence gathering in Germany to at least give you a vague idea of its contents, particularly the stuff on pages 294-300. I’ll start with the headers, and please excuse the translation:
Entwicklung in der Volksrepublik China [Development in the PRC / 中华人民共和国的发展]
Diktatur und wirtschaftliche Stabilität [独裁制度和经济坚固性]
Die von der Kommunistischen Partei Chinas (KPCh) diktatorisch regierte Volksrepublik ist ein kommunistischer Staat, der jedoch seit zwei Jahrzehnten seine Wirtschaft zunehmend nach marktwirtschaftlichen Prinzipien entwickelt und einen steilen Aufschwung verzeichnet. Chinas Ökonomie zeigt sich in der globalen Finanzkrise relativstabil, was seine stetig wachsende Bedeutung für den Welthandel belegt. [Although the People’s Republic ruled by the dictatorship of the Communist Party of China is a communist state, for the last twenty years the Party has developed the economy along market principles and marked a style of growth. China’s economy has remained relatively stable in the global financial crisis, which has testifies to its importance for world trade.]
From here forward, I’ll mostly just do headers, as time is of the essence…
Aufrüstung und Machtdemonstration [Armaments and Demonstrations of Power / 升级和力量表达]
Unterdrückung und Aufruhr in Xinjiang [Suppression and Revolt in Xinjiang / 镇压和动乱在新疆 ed: note the sequencing/cause and effect!]
The report then describes the function of Public Security Bureau in China and other organizations…Then it hits the heavy stuff.
Wirtschaftsspionage [Economic Espionage / 经济间谍活动]
Bekämpfung der „Fünf Gifte“ [Struggle Against the “Five Poisons” / 反对‘五毒‘的斗争]
Die chinesische Regierung diffamiert die als größte Gefahren für die eigene Macht bewerteten Personengruppen als so genannte Fünf Gifte. Sie bekämpft diese nicht nur in der Heimat, sondern späht auch die in Deutschland lebenden Anhänger aus. Betroffen sind vor allem die von China des Separatismus verdächtigten Uiguren und Tibeter sowie die Angehörigen der Meditationsbewegung Falun Gong. Darüber hinaus betrachtet die KPCh auch Mitglieder der Demokratiebewegung und Befürworter einer Eigenstaatlichkeit Taiwans als Staatsfeinde. [The Chinese regime defames these groups of people as the greatest dangers for the maintenance of their power, the so-called “Five Poisons.” They struggle against these not only in their homeland, but also conduct surveillance of members of these groups living in Germany, among whom in particular those suspected of separatism: Uighurs and Tibetans, as well as members of the meditation movement Falun Gong, and beyond those, the CCP also watches members of the (presumably Chinese) democracy movement and advocates of Taiwanese independence, treating them as enemies of the state.]
The report goes on to note the special interest taken by Chinese intelligence agencies in the Frankfurt Book Fair, the control over the internet, the surveillance of foreign visitors in China (particularly their internet usage in hotels) and the role of non-diplomatic in the Chinese embassy to collect economic intelligence.
Perhaps in response to the criticism, although it’s a bit hard to believe, the Huanqiu Shibao put out a 56-photo gallery of Hitler enjoying time with children the day after Angela Merkel arrived in Beijing. Isn’t that a bit much, Huanqiu editors? And why not Erich Honecker instead?
But Merkel is finally enjoying a bit of respect from the newspapers in her home country, particularly this article in Suddeutscher Zeitung, which notes that the Chancellor didn’t hold back from criticizing China for its stance toward the Dalai Lama, human rights questions, and the cases of specific dissidents.