Qatar and China have a lot in common: They show little respect for human rights and the situation of minorities in both countries is precarious. The two countries came closer to each other through the World Cup.

At the opening of the Winter Olympics in Beijing, it became clear what a world looks like in which dictatorships stage sporting events: only leaders of other autocracies and dictatorships heeded the call of China’s dictatorial leader Xi Jinping in early February.

The Emir of Qatar, Amir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, also accepted Xi’s invitation. Nobody came from the free world. The Emir of Qatar may perhaps be the one who understood best what image host Xi might project to the world.

That the bloc of unfree states is big enough to be able to celebrate the sport without the others, all by itself. China and Qatar have both shown no respect for human rights, either in the context of the events they hosted or otherwise.

In Qatar, thousands of guest workers who had to build the stadiums for the World Cup lost their lives. The situation of minorities, the LGBTQIA groups, is more than precarious. Qatar also has this in common with China.

During the Summer Olympics in Beijing in 2008, the terrible situation in China prompted a broad discussion about not allowing such sporting events to take place in dictatorships in the future.

However, the debate has not borne fruit. Homosexuals are also increasingly complaining about exclusion in China. Ruler Xi has even banned Korean men from appearing on Chinese television because he deems their attire “too effeminate.”

China and Qatar used the football event to get closer to each other economically. Right at the start of the competition, it was announced that the People’s Republic had secured access to the emirate’s gas reserves for the next 27 years.

According to this, four million tons of liquefied natural gas are to be brought to China every year in the future. According to the media, the volume of this order is over 60 billion US dollars.

Chinese companies have also built the sports facilities that have been criticized for the many deaths of guest workers. For example, the Lusail Stadium, where the final will be played, was built by the China Railway Construction Corporation.

It is the first time that FIFA has awarded such an order to a Chinese company. The People’s Republic is involved in this construction through its investment vehicle “New Silk Road”.

Many want to boycott the soccer World Cup in Qatar. In our multimedia story you can read why and what exactly the host country is being accused of and what has happened in the desert state since 2010.

This was preceded by the signing of memoranda in 2019 between China’s ruler Xi Jinping and the Emir of Qatar, which reportedly dealt with intensified cooperation between the two countries.

Around 10,000 people have moved to Qatar from China since the start of official diplomatic relations between the two countries in 1988.

But in the run-up to the tournament, the working conditions on the construction sites had come under scrutiny. Both China and Qatar are known to ignore the rights of such workers.

But not only the construction workers live dangerously in the country. Just like in the People’s Republic, the totalitarian leadership ensures massive surveillance of all guests in the country.

Thousands of cameras are practicing facial recognition, while European authorities warn against downloading the official World Cup apps because they will be used for spying. The People’s Republic has a sad record in developing and selling such technologies.

They are already being used extensively in Xinjiang province, where Beijing is committing genocide against the Uyghur minority. Beijing also sells them to other dictatorships, such as Zimbabwe, after they have been tested on their own people for the first time.

High energy costs, inflation: Many Germans are currently suffering from money worries. A topic that has not been discussed much so far are so-called index leases.

They allow the landlord to increase the basic rent each year as much as the consumer price index has risen. Currently, an increase of 10.4 percent would be possible.

We want to devote ourselves to the topic of index rental contracts and draw on the experiences of our readers. Do you have an index lease? If so, are you concerned about potential increases? Or did it already exist? How did you react?

Write us your story to, preferably with your full name, place of residence and a telephone number for queries. We will publish some of the submissions.

The world is certainly not at home with friends in Qatar. The ugly alliance between undemocratic partners like Qatar and the People’s Republic shows once again how necessary it would be to allow the sporting events, which athletes all over the world are excitedly looking forward to and are working towards, to take place exclusively where human rights are protected by a democratic rule of law are guaranteed.

The two pandas that arrived in the emirate shortly before the soccer World Cup should show how deep the friendship between the two non-democratic countries of China and Qatar goes.

The Chinese ambassador to Qatar called the two animals a blessing that he was bringing to the country on behalf of 1.4 billion Chinese people in the emirate.

Qatar is attempting an equidistance between Washington and Beijing. In fact, the rapprochement between the two countries this year proves the opposite.

Alexander Görlach is Honorary Professor of Ethics at Leuphana University in Lüneburg and Senior Fellow at the Carnegie Council for Ethics in International Affairs in New York. The PhD linguist and theologian is currently working on a project on “digital cosmopolitanism” at the Internet Institute of the University of Oxford and the Faculty of Philosophy at New York University.

Alexander Görlach was a Fellow and Visiting Scholar at Harvard University in the USA and Cambridge University in England. After stints in Taiwan and Hong Kong, he has focused on the rise of China and what it means for East Asian democracies in particular. He has recently published the following titles: “Red Alert: Why China’s Aggressive Foreign Policy in the Western Pacific Is Leading to a Global War” (Hoffmann

From 2009 to 2015, Alexander Görlach was also the publisher and editor-in-chief of the debate magazine The European, which he founded. Today he is a columnist and author for various media such as the Neue Zürcher Zeitung and the New York Times. He lives in New York and Berlin.