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Germany still hopes that China will “change through trade.” It will not

“Wandel durch Handel” must make way for a new strategy. But what kind?

By Paul Lever  

Bernd von Jutrczenka/DPA/PA Images

In a recent interview Peter Altmaier, the German Minister for Economic Affairs, was asked whether China’s imposition of a draconian national security law on Hong Kong or its treatment of the Uighurs would have consequences for Sino-German trade. His response was an unequivocal no. Germany, like all other western countries, had, he said, always maintained commercial relations with countries with poor human rights records, China was an important trade partner and nothing useful would be achieved by introducing sanctions…

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