China’s tryst with image-makeover amid the global pandemic COVID-19 fiasco
With many European countries now reconsidering their association with Chinese Huawei 5G technology, Wang Yi’s Europe trip is part of desperate “damage control” and “image rebuilding” efforts of China.
New Delhi: With an aim to re-build China’s shattered image especially after the COVID-19 fiasco which has unleashed global catastrophe killing millions and slumping the world economy, Chinese foreign minister Wang Yi is on a five-country Europe visit.
With many European countries now reconsidering their association with Chinese Huawei 5G technology, Wang Yi’s Europe trip is part of desperate “damage control” and “image rebuilding” efforts of China. Wang Yi has embarked on a visit to Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, France and Germany from 25 August to 1 September.
It may be recalled that China’s expansionist drive, from the East and South China seas to the Himalayas and the southern Pacific, is making the Indo-Pacific region more volatile and unstable. Along with the spread of the Wuhan-originating coronavirus, this has also given rise to growing anti-China sentiment.
However, Wang-Yi’s ‘‘secretive visit’’ to Rome, Italy on 25 August enraged many Tibetans and Hong-Kongers there, as it was announced last minute with no specific dates and details disclosed. They assembled in Rome in Farnesina Square before the Italian foreign minister’s office to protest over the egregious human rights violations in Tibet and the imposition of National Security Law in Hong Kong. Wang Yi was received by his Italian counterpart Luigi Di Maio, foreign minister of Italy.
Nathan Law, an activist and youngest ever elected legislative councilor from Hong-Kong was invited by Italian Senators to meet the Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation. During his press interactions, he highlighted the need to address the human rights violations being carried out by the Chinese government while engaging with China and the need to be aware of “their infiltration and their authoritarian expansionist nature.”
Law further added that, “I have been witnessing the gross human rights violations for the past years including the suppression of the freedom of religion and the suppression of the freedom of expression and the things happening: the concentration camps in Xinjiang, the cultural annihilation in Tibet, the military intimidation to Taiwan and also all the military moves in South-China Sea. These are human rights violations that we should address.”
On the other hand, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has said that the campaign against “the predatory aggression of the Chinese Communist Party” was an accomplishment of President Donald Trump, who will “not rest until justice is done”.
Recounting Trump’s foreign policy milestones, Pompeo has said, “The president has held China accountable for covering up the China virus and allowing it to spread death and economic destruction in America and around the world. He will not rest until justice is done. He has ended the ridiculously unfair trade arrangement with China that punched a hole in our economy.”