VW boss Diess is sticking to the VW plant in China despite the “re-education camp”. In an interview, he justifies things that are unjustifiable. He is reminiscent of Dieter Zetsche, who rolled in the dust giving up his spine in front of Xi.

VW boss Herbert Diess gives an interview to “Spiegel” and is also asked about China. The Volkswagen Group has a plant in the Xinjiang region where the Chinese leader Xi Jinping has a million Uyghurs imprisoned in camps in order to “re-educate” them. At the same time, women are raped and sterilized. In addition, the cultural monuments of the Muslim ethnic group are being destroyed destroyed. All the characteristics of a genocide are fulfilled, say the USA and the Netherlands.Mr. Diess, on the other hand, is sticking to the work.For him, the comment that there were no forced laborers says everything.

After all, there are also anti-democratic tendencies in Europe, he says. His rhetorical question is should one stop being active in these countries as well. “One must not judge the countries by the current leadership or the regime.” I ask myself: what else?

The difference with Hungary and Poland, assuming these are the European countries Mr. Diess is referring to, is that they are governed by autocrats but have not yet collapsed into dictatorships and no genocide is taking place in either Poland or Hungary while he gives the interview to the journalists from “Spiegel”. “Whataboutism” is the name of this technique, which is mainly used by populists. The best way to translate this into German is “But what about…”. This is intended to distract from the actual problem, the actual question, and to open up a secondary theater of war that no longer really has anything to do with the original topic.

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There it may be a haven of freedom and economic development. However, it is not the People’s Republic in our cosmos: When entrepreneurs like Alibaba founder Jack Ma resent the party, they are silenced and disappear from the scene for weeks. Industries are being patronized, companies prevented from going public, the economy as a whole brought under the Party’s thumb, and, like the tech sector in Xinjiang, become the servant of Xi’s grace, producing surveillance technology and facial recognition software that China then gives to other dictatorships like those sold on in Zimbabwe.

Xi is also using these technologies against his own people during the pandemic. 26 million people in Shanghai were locked up at home on the orders of the party, their houses fenced in, their front doors sealed. Children were separated from their parents, old people didn’t have enough medicine. The mood in the country is corresponding, of the 1.4 billion Chinese women, only 92 million are members of the Communist Party. A comparatively small group dominates the vast majority of society. This only works well as long as this majority feels inferior and unable to act. The dissatisfaction among the masses is growing, the Chinese Internet is now talking about “ West Korea ” when it comes to China. Those who use the term want to encode that today’s China is in no way inferior to the super-totalitarian North Korea next door. But the main thing is that Mr. Diess is blowing the horn of the Chinese leadership.

He is reminiscent of Dieter Zetsche, who rolled back and forth in the dust before Xi, giving up his spine, simply because an intern decorated an advertisement on his automaker’s social networks with a quote from the Dalai Lama. Beijing foamed. The background to Zetsche’s maximum humiliation became clear only a few days later: A Chinese billionaire became the largest single shareholder in the group, certainly only possible with the approval of the management. A total of 20 percent of the Daimler shares are now in Chinese hands.

How exactly should this post look like? VW, founded during the National Socialist dictatorship and associated with it, finally compensated Nazi forced laborers in 1998 after a long back and forth. Now the company is struggling with another dark chapter in its past. Between 1974 and 1986, systematic exploitation and slave labor are said to have taken place in one of the group’s factories in Brazil. The Brazilian judiciary is investigating. Through the emissions scandal, the group has also revealed its relationship to the truth. So what are the complementary values ​​that VW is bringing to China? And what change? According to Mr. Diess, China is already open and will, hurrah, be even more open in the autumn. Corporate leaders like him haven’t learned anything: Dependence on dictatorships will cost us dearly, sooner or later, see Russia.

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