Zhang Ming, Beijing’s ambassador to the EU (European Union) warned the bloc about implementing policies to curb the access of Chinese companies to Europe, saying that this would damage their own interests and discourage investment.
In the style of a ‘bully of the Chinese communist regime,’ Ming said that EU countries should promote international cooperation and free markets, so of course he was referring to free markets that suit China. “Otherwise, it’s disastrous for them,” he warned in an interview with the Financial Times.
He also said that plans to suppress foreign corporate ownership, business opportunities, and 5G mobile communications technology threatened to provoke a backlash from “suspicious” Chinese entrepreneurs.
He also said that the hardening attitude on the EU side had made “many Chinese entrepreneurs working in Europe suspicious” and “also had some kind of impact on Chinese investment in the EU.”
Ming’s comments denote growing tensions between China and Europe as the EU makes what critics see as “a belated effort to respond to Beijing’s strategic ambitions, nationalistic trade policies, and behavior to western enterprises,” according to the Financial Times.
This threat came a few days after Beijing issued an open threat in Germany, when the Chinese ambassador to Germany, Ken Wu, told former chancellor Sigmar Gabriel that if Germany excludes Huawei 5G from its communication networks, China could “declare German cars unsafe for the country.”
EU businesses and governments have long complained that China greatly restricts access to its own market and largely favors domestic companies, while demanding full access to foreign markets.
In March, the EU for the first time declared Beijing a “systemic rival” in some areas.
Then there is the issue of human rights, which has become another potential flashpoint. Beijing has been condemned and criticized by the EU for the persecution of the spiritual discipline Falun Gong and Uighurs.
Zhang accused the EU of “unfair and dishonest rhetoric and behavior” in its attacks on China’s human rights record. Almost as if he had just discovered that hypocrisy is the basis of foreign policy.
The envoy also attacked movements in EU countries against the Chinese regime’s Confucius Institutes, which Beijing insists is a cultural organization rather than the propaganda or spying tool alleged by critics.
Vrije Universiteit Brussel, in the Belgian capital, stated in December that it would end its contract with the Confucius Institute in 2020 as the cooperation “was no longer consistent” with VUB’s policies, objectives and “principles of free research.”