European Council President Charles Michel sent a recorded speech – along with several other world leaders – to be delivered at the China International Import Fair in Shanghai last Friday. But Michel’s message was not heard, the Chinese authorities did not broadcast it.
The speech appeared to be problematic because of the heavy criticism of Russia for its invasion of Ukraine. It also contains a section in which Michel talks about the need to reduce Europe’s dependence on certain countries, including China, the agency reports Reuters referring to two European Union diplomats.
According to them, the Chinese wanted to censor part of Michel’s speech. And Brussels would rather cancel the broadcast of the entire speech.
Whether that is the case is not entirely clear. Spokesman Michel Barend Leyts when asked by British newspapers Guardwhether he knows what the matter is, replied: “It is up to the Chinese side to explain what happened.”
And China declined to comment on the matter. However, a spokesman for China’s foreign ministry denied knowing of any problems at the conference, according to Reuters.
China knows the names of the seven most powerful people in the country. It wasn’t their skills that brought them to such high positions, but they did have one important link in the chain – proven loyalty to leader Xi Jinping.
According to website information Political At the opening ceremony, China’s top official, Xi Jinping, director of the International Monetary Fund, Kristalina Georgieva, and head of the World Trade Organization, Ngozi Okonjo-Iwealová, made speeches.
The video message was sent by Belarusian dictator Alexander Lukashenko, a key ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin. In his speech, Lukashenko spoke – alluding to a series of sanctions imposed by the West on both Russia and Belarus after the attacks on Ukraine – about the “urgent need for international coordination and equal partnership”, as can be read from the site the Shanghai conference.
Instead, Michel’s speech included a call to the Chinese leadership to use its influence to help stop Russia’s war of aggression in Ukraine. In it, he also talks about important lessons for Europe.
The speech was also meant to say that EU countries have relied heavily on Russia in the past, which created inequality in trade relations. “In Europe, we only want a trading relationship based on equality to avoid over-dependence. This also applies to our trade relationship with China,” he said Reuters Charles Michel in a speech (unaired).
How China is buying the world
China makes huge loans to countries it clearly cannot pay back, for projects that often have no chance of success at first glance. The default then becomes an opportunity for China to spread its own influence. For example, Sri Lanka, which is currently mired in economic troubles, has become a key destination for the Belt and Road Initiative, Xi Jinping’s long-term plan to connect China with the rest of the world.
Michel’s speech at the EU-China summit in March this year carried a similar message. And the head of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, struck a similar tone there.
Since 2019, the EU views China as a partner, economic competitor and systemic rival. However, according to an EU report last month, EU countries should start considering China primarily as a competitor propagating an alternative view of world order.
Michel and Xi are expected to meet next week at the G20 summit in Bali, Indonesia.
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