Brussels/Beijing: – German secret agency and senior ministers have warned that China is a ‘Hybrid Threat’ to Germany, and German people and companies should be cautious in their dealings with China. While Germany has issued this warning, France has decided to ban all the local companies collaborating with Chinese company Huawei for implementation of 5G technology. At the same time, the European Union has castigated China over the issues of human rights and investments. The stance adopted by the European Union along with major countries like Germany and France indicates that tensions are rising in the Europe-China relations.
Last month, discussions were held between the European Union and foremost Chinese leaders via videoconferencing. During the discussion, the leaders of the European Union adopted an adamant stand on Hong Kong along with the trade and investment issues. The Union issued a stern warning to China that Hong Kong is a matter of grave concern for the European Union, and China should be prepared to face dire consequences if it decides to enforce the law in Hong Kong. At the same time, the European Union expresses displeasure on the issues of Coronavirus pandemic, trade with China and Chinese investments. The German Foreign Minister had reprimanded that Europe will have to reassess its relations with China after the implementation of the new National Security Law in Hong Kong.
The German stand is considered to be the most important as Germany currently heads the European Union. Therefore, the warning issued by the senior ministers and secret agency become significant. Horst Seehofer, the Federal Minister of the Interior of Germany, while expressing concerns over the Chinese activities referred to China directly as a ‘Hybrid Threat’. Seehofer warned regarding the Chinese threat by saying that China is trying to gain control of major German companies. It is necessary to assess as to how to protect the companies in sensitive sectors like power and 5G sectors.
Along with the Federal Minister of the Interior of Germany, the German secret agency also drew attention to the Chinese activities. German intelligence agency BFV pointed to the Chinese threat saying that information collected by Chinese app development companies and the companies in the information technology services sector, along with Tencent and Alibaba, becomes easily available to the Chinese communist rulers. As per Chinese law, it is binding on companies to provide all the available information to the Chinese government, if necessary. Therefore, everyone should remember that the information shared by the German people and the companies with the Chinese companies is not safe. Don’t be surprised if China misuses your information. We can only warn you regarding this.
While the German government is warning its citizens regarding the Chinese threat, France has taken concrete steps to reduce the Chinese threat in the 5G sector. France announced sanctions against companies collaborating with Huawei, the leading Chinese company in this sector. China has expressed displeasure over the French government’s decision. France becomes the second European country to ban Huawei after the United Kingdom.
European Union, along with Germany, has become aggressive against the Chinese decision regarding Hong Kong and the human rights issues. On Friday, the German government expressed strong displeasure summoning the Chinese Ambassador. Sources informed that Germany has conveyed its clear stand, to the Chinese Ambassador, that Hong Kong is a matter of concern for the European Union. Before that, Germany published a narrative strongly denouncing the action initiated by China against the human rights advocates and activists. The narrative blames that the state of political and civil rights is collapsing.
It has been reported that Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Commission, had made a statement expressing displeasure over the relations with China. It is said that the statement made by Leyen was with respect to the treatment meted out to European companies in the trade and investment sectors by China. Leyen had said while addressing the European parliament, that more balance has to be brought in the Europe-China relations.
The German warning regarding Chinese threats, the decision of the French government and the stand taken by the European Union suggest that the tension in the Europe-China relations is festering. In the past, on the issues like trade war and campaign regarding the 5G technology started against China, by the United States, the European Union had adopted a stand of cooperation with China. Therefore, the increasing Europe-China tension points to a new political conflict.