New investment deal: Europe’s China dilemma

China is an extremely important factor in the global economy. The same goes for the EU. It therefore makes sense to put investments in the other economic area on a legally sound basis. The EU sees precisely this goal achieved with the agreement on the basis of which it has now agreed with the People’s Republic. Nevertheless, no one in Brussels will (hopefully) be naive enough to believe that legal certainty is the same in China as it is in Europe. This could only be the case in “old” Hong Kong, i.e. before the “Security Act” was passed. On the so-called Chinese “mainland”, law was and is ultimately only what the party leadership defines as such in its own interest.

For years in prison

The trial of blogger Zhang Zhan has just shown how state and party chief Xi Jinping and his family think in this regard. This had merely pointed out inadequacies in the fight against the corona pandemic. But since there can be no shortcomings in the kingdom of Xi, she has to go to prison for years.

How will it fare for an investor who one day attracts attention, even if it is due to a particular innovation whose secrets he does not want to reveal? There is no shortage of grotesque and scandalous “facts” in Chinese judicial practice.

To conclude from this, however, that one should not conclude any agreements with China because Beijing – see the agreements with London on Hong Kong – does not adhere to the law after all, would be wrong. Rather, it will be a matter of not treading lightly in the event of a conflict. Misconduct must be clearly stated from the start, factually, clearly and clearly. China has also pledged to make “efforts” to ratify international conventions against forced labor. The detainees in Xinjiang will hear it with interest. But what does the EU do when all of China’s “efforts” in this regard lead to nothing?

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