A high-ranking official from the German government suppressed a 2018 intelligence report highlighting the Chinese Communist Party’s growing malign influence in Germany fearful it would compromise the country’s business ties with China.
“The highly sensitive report, completed in 2018, examined the Chinese government’s attempts to influence every level of German government, society and business, according to two former U.S. intelligence officials.
- It cast a particularly harsh light on the intimate ties between German business and the Chinese government;
- But before it could be widely disseminated within the German government, as had been intended, a high-ranking official intervened;
- German Chancellor Angela Merkel also saw the report, but few others did, said one official.”
Volker Stanzel, a former German ambassador to China, explained “Germany depends on exports to a high degree, and that gives business a large influence. Business representatives talk to the government and are used to being listened to. The Chinese Communist Party succeeded in globalizing its economy because it was able to join itself to foreign business interests.”
Those business interests, therefore, have dissuaded German governments from “policies seen as harmful to economic ties with China.”
“But Beijing has increasingly fused trade with politics, threatening punitive economic measures against companies and governments that criticize China’s human rights record, deny market access to Chinese companies like Huawei, or express support for Taiwan. German business interests, as well as the country’s top economics official Peter Altmaier, have thus tended to downplay China’s growing human rights violations and security challenges,” Axios also noted.