Open Letter: 70 civil society organisations urge German Chancellor Scholz to rethink trip to Beijing amidst human rights concerns

Open Letter to Olaf Scholz, Chancellor of the Federal Republic of Germany

1 November 2022 

Re: Your Visit to Beijing 

Dear Chancellor Scholz, 

We, the undersigned human rights non-governmental organisations, are writing to urge you to reconsider your visit to Beijing in November 2022. 

The timing of this visit would coincide with the start of Xi Jinping’s third term as Secretary General of the Communist Party of China (CPC). His previous two terms have been marred by an exponential growth in gross and widespread human rights abuses within the People’s Republic of China, combined with active efforts to undermine the international rules-based order and restrict fundamental freedoms around the globe. 

His current legacy includes ongoing atrocity crimes in the Uyghur Region (Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region by the Chinese government) – which the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights has said could amount to crimes against humanity and termed as tantamount to violations under international criminal law – the crackdown in and overturning of Hong Kong’s constitutional order, the ongoing crackdown in Tibet, continuous and mounting threats of a military invasion of Taiwan, and his unrenounced partnership “without limits” with Russia. 

In this ambit, the CPC would most certainly use your first visit to the PRC for propaganda purposes, promoting a narrative of endorsement following its 20th National Congress. The invitation of a German trade delegation to join your visit will be viewed as an indication that Germany is ready to deepen trade and economic links, at the cost of human rights and international law. 

Only last month, the German Government stood with its democratic allies at the UN Human Rights Council in support of a resolution to discuss the UN OHCHR’s findings in its Uyghur report. A request that was defeated in a show of the PRC’s growing global authoritarian influence. The above propaganda narrative will further contribute and legitimise that influence in signalling that no real cost will be imposed. 

It is our firm conviction that this runs counter not only to the universal rights of those suffering at the hand of the CPC inside – and increasingly outside – China, but also to the fundamental long-term interests of Germany and the European Union as a whole. 

The European Union’s foundational values are built on human rights and fundamental freedoms. A rapidly growing consensus among democratic nations – and allied partners – recognizes the severe threat the PRC poses to these values and the need to rapidly reduce economic

dependence to bolster democratic resilience. This cannot be achieved by loosening economic dependence on one authoritarian power only to deepen economic dependence on another. 

Your visit at this time would send a most distressing signal of democratic disunity in the face of the PRC’s growing authoritarian behaviour around the world and further embolden its aggressive commitment to substitute the international rules-based order with its repressive governance model. 

We therefore call upon you to urgently reconsider your visit. This would send the clearest signal that Germany, as one of the leading members of the European Union, will not offer its tacit endorsement to the ongoing oppression of Uyghurs, Hong Kongers, Tibetans, and other groups within and outside the PRC’s borders. 

Yours sincerely, 

Hong Kong Watch Safeguard Defenders World Uyghur Congress CSW 

Human Rights in China 
Italian Federation for Human Rights 
CIVICUS 
International Campaign for Tibet 
Uyghur Rights Advocacy Project 
HKDC 
Hong Kong Professional Network 
HK4DC (Washingtonians Supporting Hong Kong) 
The Committee For Freedom in Hong Kong 
Hongkongers in Britain 
Fight for Freedom, Stand with Hong Kong 
Hong Kong Assistance & Resettlement Community 
Hong Kong Liberty 
Victoria Harbour Group
Hackney Chinese Community Centre
Hong Kong Aid 
Britons in Hong Kong 
EXE. HKers Action 
Guildford UK Stands with Hong Kong 
Banyan Tree Aid CIC 
Regional Tibetan Youth Congress of Toronto, Canada. (RTYC Toronto) Netherlands for Hong Kong (NL4HK) 
Hongkonger in Deutschland e.V. 
Freiheit für Hongkong e.V. 
Tibetan Youth 
Hong Kong Link Up 
Good Neighbour Church England 
HearthTalk 
和你傾 Wo4 Nei5 King1 
Salford HongKongers CIC 
Hongkonger in Brighton CIC 
Bristol Hongkongers 
Sutton 藝文社 
Nottingham Stands With Hong Kong 
Jewish Movement for Uyghur Freedom 
The Montreal Institute for Genocide and Human Rights Studies China Aid Association
Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation
No Business With Genocide 
Uyghur Center for Human Rights and Democracy
Canadian Asian Community Think Tank
ACTION Free Hong Kong Montreal 
Canadians In Support of Refugees In Dire Need
Canada Tibet Committee 
Canadian Friends of Hong Kong 
Tibetan Youth 
Campaign for Uyghurs 
Uyghur Human Rights Project 
Victoria Hong Kongers 
Torontonian HongKongers Action Group
Befria Hongkong Sweden 
NGO Ngo Dei 我地 
Le Comité pour la Liberté à Hong-Kong
AfricaHongKongFrance (AHKF) 
Stand with Hong Kong Vienna 
Hong Kong Committee in Norway 
Germany Stands with Hong Kong 
Penn State Students For Hong Kong 
US Hongkongers Club 
Hongkongers in San Francisco Bay Area Bay Area
Friends of Tibet 
Anti China Expansion Movement
Toronto Association for Democracy in China
Canada-Hong Kong Link
910 Club, Canada
Hello Taiwan