Berlin is pushing for the EU’s investment agreement with China, which has been negotiated for years, to be concluded as quickly as possible. With this, Germany is promoting a partner who is taking increasingly dictatorial measures.

The strong man sits in the middle: Xi Jinping, President of the People's Republic of China

IIs China of all places, where the pandemic began, the winner at the end of the year? Although the virus broke out in Wuhan twelve months ago, the Chinese economy is the only one of the major industrialized countries to have grown rather than contracted. While a new lockdown is looming in America and people in Europe celebrate Christmas in isolation, offices and restaurants are full in Shanghai and Beijing. Only mask wearers on buses and trains remind us that in the spring billions of people were locked up in their apartments, while the cadres of the Communist Party hunted down anyone outside the door who did not comply with the stipulated standstill.

There are only a dozen new cases of Covid infection in China every day. The factories export more than ever before. More foreign capital is flowing into the financial markets than before the crisis. The impression that the country has turned the “Chernobyl moment” of the pandemic into a gain in power is also promoted by Berlin’s urging to quickly conclude the EU’s investment agreement with China that has been negotiated for years. Chancellor Angela Merkel seems ready for an alliance – although this runs counter to the goal of the newly elected government of America to curb China’s rise together with the Europeans.