China Action Manual
How should we deal with China, the new Great Red Dragon of world politics, and with Xi Jinping, its grand master? Keep silent, kotau, cuddle, do business like before or keep a distance? How should nations and companies react – de-coupling or de-risking? We visited Beijing, Harbin and Qingdao and the world's best China analysts in the U.S., Europe, Japan, Vietnam and Taiwan, met the Dalai Lama three times, had a discussion with artist and influencer Ai Weiwei in Berlin, and looked into Chinese history books and several analyses of Henry Kissinger, whom we met last time in Fürth for his 100th birthday. Mission Future presents a unique Action Manual China. With several concrete suggestions for a China Realpolitik and a good and peaceful coexistence, cooperation and containment with the fire-breathing Red Super Dragon in the 21st century.

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In 2024, the People's Republic of China is facing more headwinds: Russian President Putin visited President Xi Jinping in Beijing in May. The two have met 30 times in six years. But it remains a balancing act of still different national interests. Both U.S. President Joe Biden and EU President Ursula von der Leyen demanded that Beijing restrict the sale of dual-use parts to Russia (including via Central Asian states), so that they are not used for the war of aggression in Ukraine. Otherwise there is a threat of further sanctions, which could hit the already weak economy. The U.S.imposed already higher tariffs on e-cars, batteries and other imports. The EU is also threatening, not to lose its industrial base for prosperity to China by flooding it with state-subsidized electric cars, batteries or steel. In April the U.S. Congress approved a bill that demands from TikTok to divest from its Chinese parent company ByteDance or be shut out of the American market of 170 million users. In Asia, more countries joined forces to contain the Red Dragon and keep the sea open for all. (More details later).


Despite all the resentment today, caused by the aggressive policies of Chinese President Xi Jinping since 2012 in his country and in the outside world, we should not forget the hard work and impressive achievements in China´s past 50 years.

It all started with in the opening of China to the West in 1972 during Henry Kissinger´s and Richard Nixon´s tenure. The objective: Mainly counterbalancing the USSR, regarded by both countries as a hostile power.

Statesman Deng Xiaoping, who merged the stiff communist dogmas of Marx & Mao with capitalist pragmatism (using his famous argument “It doesn't matter whether the cat is white or black. The main thing is that it catches mice") carried out comprehensive reforms. He established the importance of education, science and technology, including new capitalist flowers of private ownership, at the central working conference of the party in December 1978. These reforms produced an innovative mix of prosperity and power. Under his wise leadership, China became a forward- looking technocratic dictatorship with a determined push towards progress. A unique formula for success. Especially in comparison to the USSR, which in 1991 collapsed spectacularly due to total state failure of its planned rotten economy. Deng’s aim was to make China stable and more powerful, consolidating the rule of Chinas Communist Party (CCP).

In the West, people looked to the Chinese economic miracle and hoped for change through trade. It was forgotten that the new economy was only the much better tool in the hands of the Marxist-Leninist-Maoist party. A means to an end. Not a reform of power structures, but their cementing and stabilization. Under the glittering capitalist façade, the fire of Mao, Marx and Lenin continued to glow. No liberalization, but the dictatorship of the party. No freedoms, but obedience of the citizens.

In competition with the Western capitalist states, friendly words gave way to ideological narrow-mindedness the stronger the People's Republic of China became. With Xi, this dictatorial fire flared up again and became visible in 2012. The core of the CCP was coming out. The façade has fallen. A return to the Maoist soul.

Since 1979 China established a unique ‘Socialist Market Economy’ dominated by state-ownership of many companies (State-owned-Enterprises, SOEs) plus an economic planning system from the local level to the very top, as well as interventionist industrial policies in accordance with the objectives of Chinas Communist Party. A hierarchical top-down-planning system, in which private actors or foreign competitors can be restrained at any time at the party´s request.  The entire economy is subject to central planning and control and interlinked with the allocation of resources, taxing, subsidies, and financial institutions as well as other industries.

China's unique success over the past decades is less the success of the state party than of hundreds of millions of hard-working people. Deng gave farmers, craftsmen, and entrepreneurs the necessary freedom, breathing space and capitalist oxygen to work hard and creatively and make money for their families, as well to invest. They are the true engines of success in China, not the party.  The entrepreneurs' candle brightened China's future.

The turbo-capitalist-attitude of the entrepreneurs and the hard work of the people made China great again, and not the stiff totalitarian dogmas of Marxism-Leninism:

- 850 million Chinese have been lifted out of poverty.

-Since the start of reforms in 1979, until few years ago, an average economic growth of nearly 10 percent.

- The establishment of many modern factories and businesses have turned China into a modern industrialized country with a global reputation in just four decades.

- China is no longer importing and copying Western technology, but captured a leading role with its own world-class products, for example electric cars (BYD, Nio), high-speed trains, electronics (Huawei), e-commerce (Alibaba) and digital products (Tik-Tok).

Interdependence between the U.S. and China in the realms of trade and currency has increased rapidly. Americans imported most of their goods from China. Joint ventures emerged in Asia, often out-sourcing jobs to China. The Chinese central bank bought American government bonds (USD 869 billion out of 7,6 trillion held by foreign countries, second after Japan). When Beijing joined the World Trade Organization (WTO) in 2001, the country was finally integrated into the global economy and boomed. A decade-long honeymoon that could have gone on forever in harmony.

- A sales market with 1.4 billion consumers has become an indispensable market for many Western companies, especially in the automotive industry and in the luxury goods sector. Their sales and profits now depend on China.

After Xi came to power in 2012 several alarming things happened, comparable to a tsunami ending the Western romance period with China:

- The brutal crushing of freedom and democracy by Beijing's total claim to power in Hong Kong in 2019 and the de facto abandonment of the agreed principle of "one country, two systems for 50 years”. The treaty, concluded with London in 1984, was simply undermined and no longer respected.

-Total mismanagement of the Corona crisis, resembling a dangerous roller coaster ride. These developments amounted to huge mistakes of Xi and his party:

Dangerous gain-of-function-experiments and even accidents with the Corona virus at the Wuhan Institute for Virology for years. In the fall of 2019 and in early 2020, a total denial of the Wuhan Institute of Virology involvements. Courageous doctors were even punished for their candid remarks. There was a need for an open information policy and a rapid lock-down in Wuhan in December 2019. Both delayed by the CCP for months, which contributed to the spread of the virus in China and globally. Followed from mid 2020 to 2022 by strict lockdowns in many cities. Later rapid re-openings as a result of numerous protests and a severe economic slow-down.

-An increasing suppression of freedom, which is the ethos of the United States of America and the West.

Dissidents of all kinds and religions were mercilessly persecuted. We met Ai Weiwei in Berlin. The most famous artists from China had to leave his country in 2015 due to its tun to neo-Mao-totalitarism, neglect of human rights, the absence of freedom of speech and too much corruption. Each year around 300,000 Chinese leave the mainland, many young talented people, the future of the country resulting in a brain drain.

In 2018, a law was passed stipulating insulting heroes and martyrs a crime punishable by up to three years in prison. The revival of Maoism is part of President Xi’s campaign to fight “historical nihilism,” a phrase the party uses for any interpretation of historical events running counter to its official narrative. Kissinger remarked: “The leadership now views Mao now as 30 percent bad, but 70 percent good.” Just remember: Mao (and not the Japanese invaders) killed over 60 million Chinese by executions, persecution, prison labor and starvation. More than Adolf Hitler. He was a brutal dictator too with no respect for humanity and freedom.

Now Mao’s ghost is back on stage. Xi even stepped in his footsteps as an omnipotent dictator.

- The brutal treatment of minorities, the Muslim Uyghurs in Xinjiang and the Buddhist Tibetans, is shocking and a clear violation of UN rules. Many were mercilessly persecuted. Disrespect for diversity with no tolerance and human rights.

- China has been making massive use of industrial espionage with the objective of exploiting know-how of Western companies and of gaining a competitive advantage. In her report of 22 July 2020, U.S. Senator Marsha Blackburn cited FBI figures: 90 percent of the cases of industrial espionage from 2011 to 2018 have links to China. In the summer of 2020 alone, the authority investigated 1000 ongoing espionage cases. In July 2020, for example, Chinese hackers gained access to corona vaccine research in the United States. In the same year, Chinese military personnel hacked into the Equifax computer and stole the personal data of 145 million Americans. China has stolen intellectual property (IP) from one in five U.S. companies. Many companies in China did not pay for foreign patents. Wherever there is an opportunity, China uses all illegal means to steal intellectual property. That is called ‘Chinese patriotism’ because it strengthens the country.

- In early 2023, a Chinese high-altitude balloon flew over the United States. It was shot down on February 4. It contained the equivalent of two railroad cars of spy equipment, antennas, solar panels and several propellers to actively maneuver the balloon. It was not a passive ‘weather balloon’ blown off course by the wind, as Beijing claimed.

- China is flooding global markets with nine state-pampered and dumped goods in key industries, while blocking imported competition, the European Commission stated in its report “On Significant Distortions in the Economy of the People’s Republic of China”, April 10, 2024.


In New Energy Vehicles, environmental goods like solar cells, wind turbines, and geothermal heat pumps, semiconductors, telecommunications equipment, high-speed rail industry, steel, aluminum, chemicals or ceramics. China over years triggered a surge of low-priced Chinese exports. State support encompasses the national, regional and municipal levels. The industries follow the government's direction and implement the government's policy objectives. There is a high degree of intervention by the Chinese government.

In 2005, China started its New Energy Vehicles (NEV) industry. Supported by the central and local governments throughout the value chain, from essential raw materials to batteries to the NEVs, China became the world´s first producer and exporter of NEVs - flooding the world with cheaper and well-engineered products.

There is a large toolbox for state support:

It comprises widespread instruments, for example the use of large State-owned Enterprises (SOEs). Easy and better access to finance, like government-backed investment funds (with the largest Big Fund) and banks. Favorable market lending, subsidies and grants, financial support from the various state levels in the form of financial transfers, preferential loans, export incentives, tax relief, value added tax rebate, reduction on enterprise income tax or land-use cost relief and other direct financial support measures. Procurement preferences. Deployment of a wide range of regulatory tools, including fiscal, financial, investment or pricing measures. Even cheap use of forced labor. Consolidation of companies.  Curbing overcapacity with the largest manufacturing capacities. Plus protecting the domestic market against foreign competitors and promoting Chinese firms (like Huawei) abroad.

In May 2024 EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen joined French President Macron in Paris and gave China's President Xi Jinping a clear message:

"We discussed the imbalances that remain significant, and this is a matter of great concern. As we have shown, we will defend our companies; we will defend our economies. We will never hesitate to do so if this is required."

"Chinese subsidized products, such as the electric vehicles or steel, are flooding the European market. China continues to massively support its manufacturing sector. The world cannot absorb China's surplus production."

"For trade to be fair, access to each other's market also needs to be reciprocal. We discussed how to make real progress on market access. At the same time, we stand ready to make full use of our trade defense instruments if this is necessary."

"We need to improve the resilience of our supply chains. For example, we tackle excessive dependencies by diversifying sources of critical raw materials. This is basically de-risking in practice. Our market is and remains open to fair competition and to investments, but it is not good for Europe if it harms our security and makes us vulnerable. And this is why we act."

"Europe will not waver from making tough decisions needed to protect its economy and its
security,“ the EU Commission President told Xi.

May 14, 2024, U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai announced new China tariffs after a Section 3012 investigation. She argued: „We want to eliminate China's unfair technology transfer-related unfair policies and practices, including cyber intrusions and cyber theft, that harm American workers and businesses. We need to promote American jobs and investments.“ The section 301 tariffs will be increased to 100 percent for electric vehicles, to 50 percent for semiconductors and solar cells, to 25 percent for battery parts, batteries, critical materials, steel, aluminium and face-masks.

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What are the key figures with special significance?

What changes do they signal?

3 percent actual economic growth per year, instead of an average of almost 10 percent since 1978. The official figure is usually "around 5 percent".
20 - 25 percent Youth unemployment. Only if the economy achieves 8 percent annual economic growth, 21 million young people will be able to find work. This objective cannot be met with an annual growth of only 3 percent.
10 percent boost in defense spending in 2024, including R&D and the coast guard. Officially China spends just 7.2 percent. Under President Xi Jinping defense spending has doubled in just 11 years.

The West is making a fundamental mistake: it thinks in Western terms. As a result, its policies are often misguided. We can only gain a realistic understanding of Beijing and develop an effective China policy if we put ourselves in the position of the Communist Party and look at the world through its eyes.

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Which measures and which states have best managed national interests facing the Chinese challenge?

Are there role models for an effective and balanced China policy?

Henry Kissinger's appeal for open dialog at eye level

Mission Future founders Dr. Hubertus and Yvonne Hoffmann met the icon of Western-Chinese relations several times, last celebrating his 100th birthday in his former hometown Fürth in June 2023 (photo). Dr. Hoffmann and Dr. Kissinger share the same mentor, Pentagon geostrategist Dr. Fritz Kraemer.

Time and again, the world's foremost China expert has called for moderation and dialogue - on both sides. This enabled Kissinger to maintain a regular channel of communication between Washington and Beijing - a great achievement. He met Xi in Beijing July 20, 2023.

Dialogue is also necessary as one pillar in a realpolitik of containment.

Dialogue is the mother language of mankind. It helps to turn enemies into opponents and opponents into friends.

We need a smart dual strategy of credible deterrence, fair rules and dialogue.

It requires moving away from a dominant diplomacy of silence towards a diplomacy of candid words.

Not just an exchange of pleasantries and diplomatic phrases, but an open and honest dialogue at eye level, in which all contentious issues are laid openly on the table and solutions are sought.

This is the only way to avoid misunderstandings as well.

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Henry Kissinger’s appeal for open dialogue at eye level, because this is also important for a Realpolitik of containment.

Taiwan’s courage for freedom. The island remains a democratic country despite interference and military threats.

U.S. super chip embargo exploits China’s Achilles heel and slows the massive arms build-up.

EU anti-dumping actions for the first time reveal the limits of Chinese state dumping in Europe.


Japan’s defense of the Senkaku Islands sends a signal against maritime overreach and dominance.

The Philippines’ lawsuit on artificial islands in the South China Sea clearly showed China’s claims to be unlawful.

Australia’s assertiveness against Beijing’s political boycott of goods, defending the WTO rules of free trade.


Lithuania resists blackmail, because the small EU country did not kowtow.

Prague defies the Red Dragon, by twinning with democratic Taipei instead of dictatorial Beijing.

Tibet lives in the hearts of 6.7 million Tibetans, despite the oppression and defamation of the Dalai Lama.

Henry Kissinger’s appeal for open dialogue at eye level ★★★

It is also important in a Realpolitik of containment. This avoids misunderstandings and sets clear red lines for Beijing.


Taiwan’s courage for freedom ★★★

Despite interference and military threats, the island remains a self-confident democratic country. It displays both a strong will for freedom and a growing defense capability. Washington stands by its 1979 guarantees of assistance. (picture: Mission Future founders Dr. Hubertus and Yvonne Hoffmann in a Daoist temple in the mountains of Taiwan).


Super chip embargo of the USA ★★★

Because it exploits China’s Achilles heel and slows its massive rearmament. A lasting bipartisan consensus in America. This enables the U.S. to maintain a ten-year lead.


EU anti-dumping actions ★★★

For the first time the EU demonstrated Beijing the limits of state dumping. Europe has woken up and learned its lesson after losing its solar and wind industries to China. Now the EU is defending the new market for electric cars with thousands of jobs.

Japan’s defense of the Senkaku Islands ★★

Sends a clear signal near Taiwan to stop China’s increasing maritime encroachment and dominance in the East China Sea. An archipelago controlled by Japan since 1895.


Complaint by the Philippines on artificial islands in the South China Sea ★★

Filed against massive pressure in 2013 at the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague. In 2016, China’s claims were clearly judged to be unlawful under the rules of the UN Convention of the Law of the Sea. China’s newly developed low-tide elevations (Spratly Islands) do not create a 200-mile zone. Beijing’s nine-dash line has no legal basis. China is also violating environmental protection there.


Australia’s assertiveness ★★

After the country decided against internal interference and against Huawei for 5G and also criticized China’s handling of corona in Wuhan, Beijing imposed punitive tariffs on wine and barley in 2020. A showdown. Australia took this dispute to the WTO and was supported by the US and the EU. After a tough struggle, an agreement was reached in March 2024.

Lithuania resists blackmail ★

This small EU country, formerly a republic of the USSR, did not kowtow to Beijing, criticized the violation of human rights by China in the UN and the persecution of the Uyghurs in 2020. In 2021, a representative office of “Taiwan” was opened, which led to a boycott of Lithuanian goods in China. Supported by the EU, the WTO dispute was settled in January 2014 and diplomatic relations were re-established.


Prague defies the Red Dragon ★

The city council decides in favor of a city partnership with democratic Taipei. Previous partner Beijing withdraws.


Tibet’s Soul is alive ★

Lighting the hearts of 6.7 million Tibetans. Despite occupation in 1951 in violation of international law, there was oppression and defamation of the Dalai Lama. Mao had promised the Tibetans  autonomy, which they are still demanding today. More support is needed to save the native culture of this suppressed mountain people.

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“De-coupling” or “de-risking”? Stand up or keep silent?

What new China strategy can North America, Europe and their global allies employ to protect their interests and keep the People’s Republic of China on an equal footing?

Here is our proposal for a Containment Master Plan “Fair Partnership with China”.

What to do?
1. A self-confident dialog policy with China at eye level

The German American geostrategist Dr. Fritz Kraemer (mentor of Dr. Henry Kissinger and Mission Future founder Dr. Hubertus Hoffmann) called the superficiality of foreign policy analysis, which often annoyed him, 'noble chatter'.

There is frequently a desire to pursue a policy described and designated as ‘de-escalation and prudence’. Meeting rituals without substance. Friendliness without problem-solving. Not outlining your thoughts and objectives but remaining comfortably silent.

However, this approach is bound to create misunderstandings because it can be misinterpreted as consent or provocative weakness.

There is a lack of historical and analytical depth and background information about China.

Kissinger formulated this disconnect diplomatically:

"Today´s meetings produce one communique after another, but not much happens afterwards."

In fact, too often there is too a lack of concrete proposals, both for dialogue and for containment.

Kissinger recounted how he had begun and maintained the dialogue with China in the early 1970s:

"The Nixon administration spent two thirds of the time explaining the American position in global affairs and listening to Chinese views. That is important today."

Dialogue is the mother tongue of humanity and diplomacy. It helps us to forge enemies into opponents and opponents into friends. Therefore, we should agree with Henry Kissinger when he recommends:

"What is needed is a permanent high-level dialogue. Analyzing events soberly and adopting a mode of managing disagreements. Don´t wait for controversial things to bubble up eventually generating a confrontation."

The statesman focuses on the crucial question: "Which current problems need our attention and how should they be solved through dialogue?"

We need a fresh and self-confident open dialogue with China. More dialogue to explain our differing points of view, to listen and understand on both sides. Instead of pompous state visits and glitzy PR diplomacy with nice pictures and mostly empty communiqués. We need long-term, intensive discussions, concrete working papers from joint committees, initial proposals and solution-oriented plain language without taboos.

We should always bear in mind the wisdom of Albert Einstein and pursue an active rather than a passive China policy:

"The world will not be destroyed by those who do evil, but by those who watch them without doing anything."

2. A new China dual strategy a la Harmel

Too many soft Western politicians still lack the courage to stand up for the national interests of their peoples. They remain silent or think that kindness produces kindness. This is unrealistic, naive and dangerous - provocative weakness that China will always exploit.

Let us apply the most successful strategy tool of the Cold War to China, NATO's Harmel Report of 1967, which introduced as a dual strategy of credible deterrence and simultaneous dialogue. Called détente in the 1970s, combined with disarmament treaties with the main adversary, the USSR.

This was the West´s winning formula for the Cold War.

Not a strategy of neutrality or appeasement with inadequate defense capabilities, but strength. Plus, dialogue as the mother tongue of humanity.

This dual strategy effectively deterred the hawks in the Kremlin for three decades and kept peace in the nuclear age.

From this position, several effective disarmament treaties (such as SALT I, II, START, INF, MBFR and CSCE) were negotiated.

The West continued to stand for freedom and human rights and did not succumb to the Red Threat.

This strategy paved the way for peaceful revolutions in Poland and subsequently in the entire Warsaw Pact allowing political change in Moscow  from 1985 to 1991.

The U.S. and Europe need a new Harmel strategy for dealing with China.

A China dual strategy based on dialogue and deterrence.

This winning strategy needs deliberate, credible strength and self-confidence in all areas of relations with China. In other words, no looking away, ducking out of the way, no whitewashing or kowtowing, but a tough, clear policy of strength as the indispensable basis.

The CCP understands and respects only the strength and power of the other. That is fact, if you like it or not.

This is proven by its ruthless actions against the weak states of Bhutan (territorial claims) and the Philippines (occupation of reefs) or the breach of Mao's promises of autonomy to the peaceful Tibetans or Hongkong. Anyone who is weak is oppressed by Beijing. This also applies to global trade and the Chinese market.

3. China is making a major strategic mistake – just like the Japanese Empire or Kaiser Wilhelm II.

In our open dialogue we should discuss these historical facts again and again.

China or the Chinese are not the problem. The harsh dictatorship of the Chinese Communist Party and its ideology pose dangerous threats.

The party fans the flames of nationalism depriving people of the oxygen of freedom. It produces lies. Its policy resembles an angry fire-breathing Red Dragon intimidating, destroying and demanding tribute.

This bad habit is reminiscent of the “time of the warring empires” in China from 453 to 221 B.C or Kublai Khan of the Mongolian Yuan Dynasty from 1271 to 1294.

They also bear similarities to the Japanese Empire and the nationalistic arrogance and ignorance of Kaiser Wilhelm II in the German Reich in the 20th century.

The leadership, relying on its successes and ideological exaggeration without compensatory criticism, becomes too arrogant and aggressive.

This is un-Chinese. Not Lao Tzu (“Kindness in words creates trust” – “The peoples must live in peace” – “Only the humble are able to rule”) or Confucius ( “The superior man strives for harmony” – “Treat everyone as you would like to be treated yourself”). Not smiling, but roaring. Not bamboo, but rockets. Not wisdom but dictates of power. And the old German ideology of Marxism, which failed in 49 states over the last 100 years.

This aggressive dragon policy should be replaced by a new harmonious panda policy as soon as possible. Otherwise, China will be facing a catastrophe of nationalistic overestimation of its own capabilities and gradual isolation on the global level.

Just like the nationalistic, expansionist and arrogant Japanese Empire in the 1930s.

In the last few years, Beijing has been upsetting the sleeping giant United   States of America as well as the exhausted European Union with its exaggerated behavior, thus intimidating 800 million people. A very unwise strategy. The excessive and selfish contracts of the One Belt, One Road initiative have caused indignation not only in Sri Lanka, but also in Central Asia and Africa. For over 30 years, China’s diplomats have been particularly polite and welcome, now they appear arrogant and aggressive. They are operating on thin ice in the danger zone of ‘lost victories.

Our great concern is that China’s new leadership has not learned much from the history of the rise and fall of other great powers. Dai-Nippon, the overly aggressive Japanese empire, also felt attacked and constricted in the 1930s, completely overestimated and ultimately destroyed itself in 1945. The vitality of America was also underestimated.

The Wilhelmine German Empire is historically most similar to China today.

Without exuberant nationalism, Germany could have continued to grow as a successful and dynamic scientific and industrial nation and become Europe´s dominant power. But Wilhelm II wanted more. He challenged the British world empire with its fleet and its neighbor France, thus starting the First World War and his own downfall.

Adolf Hitler wanted to take revenge for the humiliation of the Treaty of Versailles, create space for people in the East and started a major war, which he objectively could not win - a war of attrition and on two fronts against the British Empire plus Russia and America.

The Xi-nationalists also overestimate themselves and are also playing with fire.

Some even have invasion plans for Taiwan until 2049, which could quickly lead to a new world fire. Is that a wise policy in China’s interest?

Henry Kissinger, one of the most renowned China experts, issued a warning at the start of the Bloomberg New Economy Forum on November 16, 2020:

“Unless there is a new basis for cooperative action, the world will slide into a catastrophe comparable to World War I. The danger is that some crisis will occur that will go beyond rhetoric into actual military conflict.”

Beijing is making another mistake.

Without the oxygen of freedom, there can be no sufficient creativity in the country and no real enthusiasm of the youth.

But that is China’s future and the prerequisite for progress, the party’s performance for its citizens, harmony and thus internal stability.

Those who love China must therefore strengthen the Panda-forces of harmony in the country and contain the totalitarian Red Dragon elements.

The vast majority of the Chinese population long for truth, freedom, justice and peace, just as we do. They also want lasting stability for their fatherland. What is wrong with that? Just like the eight heroic doctors in Wuhan, namely Dr Li Wenliang and Ai Fen. They already warned of the Corona virus in December 2019 and were silenced by the Chinese Communist Party on the spot. But also, many members of the party, including high-ranking officials in the Central Committee and other institutions, with whom we spoke about it confidentially in Beijing. All of them and their well-educated children are China’s bright future, looking for freedom.

What is crucial is a balance between a strong state creating progress and prosperity, and the existence of individual freedoms.

The current Xi-model is an ancient one rooted in the thinking of the imperial period and old and failed German ideology of Marxism.

This old imperial model failed in China in 1820, because it was too rigid and anti-progressive. Neo-Maoism is also a step into the bitter past. Why take this thorny path once again? It also no longer meets the needs of a globalized world and human nature and could therefore break like a glass rod. The young protesters in Hong Kong fomented a fermentation process taking place under the rigid rules of conformity in mainland China as well. Human nature calls for individuality, freedom and human rights – a wind of change aimed at altering China’s future.

We can learn a lot from the great Chinese. Their family cohesion, their veneration of the elderly. Their endless diligence. Their open-mindedness for the future.

But without more freedom and humanity, there can be neither a harmonious land of smiles nor a peaceful world order in the 21st century.

China also needs a Mission Future China with more freedom and harmony in the next stage of development. Let us therefore support the country’s courageous forces for the future.

Those who remain silent or promote appeasement betray them, strengthen the power of the aggressive and thus weaken China in the long term. We must start on open discussion about it now.

4. Do not blame Beijing: Implement radical reforms in Western democracies with a Mission Future.

Like water China fills the vacuums created by the West.

The objective is to make the West fit for and capable of shaping the future. Otherwise, China is bound to win and dominate.

Do not blame Beijing for using the soft spots of the West.

Blame the West for being too weak, soft and vulnerable.

A Mission Future is needed in the U.S. and Europe as well as Japan or South Korea and India. This is the core of balancing the Chinese Dragon.

Therefore, a military containment strategy is not enough. Instead a Grand Strategy combining soft and hard factors of peace-making and global strength ought to be pursued.

The West must work together to achieve system leadership in artificial intelligence, political creativity and effectiveness maintaining its competitiveness and prosperity.

5. Totalitarian challenges need containment, including the narratives.

We live in a global village. Therefore, we have to fight for our rules and values, if the house rules threaten to be rewritten by a totalitarian playbook.

China wants to dominate the narrative globally and thus gain supremacy over all narratives. It is no longer the values of Western democracies that are to dominate the global debate, but the ideology of the Chinese version of Marxism-Leninism. A global information war that Beijing is systematically pursuing while the West is weakening. One of the main instruments is TikTok, with an estimated 1.7 billion users worldwide, which is expected to rise to 2.2 billion by 2027.

Freedom and human rights are facing icy head winds from many directions. Challenges of the liberal order are growing globally generating dangers from within and beyond national boundaries.

Dictators and autocrats are on the rise worldwide, after five decades of steady decline. Karl Dietrich Bracher of the Bonn University describes countries with an exclusive claim to leadership by one party and ideology as totalitarian states. They suppress human rights, the democratic principles of tolerance, a free development of the personality and the autonomy of different areas of life. In his work “The Totalitarian Experience”, Bracher refers to the comprehensive claim to totalitarianism, which “characterizes the process of ideologization in state and society, economy and culture”. These are “highly ideologized dictatorships with an inexorable claim to realization of absolutist ideas of extreme exaggeration and radicalism”. He refers to ideology as the ideological justification of political rule in relationship to political reality.

Totalitarianism has been resurrected in many forms’ world- wide amounting to a declaration of war on our freedoms, plurality and the shared values of the United Nations. It always starts in small doses, step by step. It increases until it comes to power establishing a dictatorship. It is red or brown or has other colors.

Now China is collecting those forces to form an alternative block against the Western model of the United States and Europe. Beijing is not hesitating to include Iran, Russia or North Korea.

Dictatorships dominate the UN as well.

There is a long-term threat to Western values.

Our way-of-life is under attack.

We have to act or we will be forced to surrender.

With all negative consequence for our fragile democracies, stability, wealth and freedom.

6. Stop appeasement for better manager bonuses

Many top managers of Western companies prefer a policy not interfering with their business in China. They receive support from the media, which are critical of the USA. They regularly warn of a "confrontation", an "economic war" and "dragging the Europeans into the conflict between the USA and China".

This attitude misunderstands the nature of China and the motives of the Communist Party.

Western companies are welcome in China as long as the ruling elite supports their presence.  The firms can be marginalized and virtually be expropriated by new legislation. There is no protection against arbitrary decisions. Many foreign investors have experienced this in recent years.

In addition, there is massive industrial espionage and dumping.

Western companies are all living on a yellow volcano.

To be honest, these managers should also say that they are interested in good quarterly results for their companies and the bonus payments that depend on them - in other words, self-interest dominates. Most contracts provide for performance-related remuneration based on profit (EBITDA) and share price. This often accounts for two-thirds of the annual income on the top. It is determined and paid out annually by the Supervisory Board. The management's time horizon is therefore usually only a few years. Turnover and annual profit in the Chinese business influence the remuneration of top managers. This is fine in principle, but it must not be allowed to dominate the conduct of foreign policy.

This is about long-term stability and the preservation of freedom and peace in the world, not about short-term profits for individuals in a capitalist society.

There is another important reason: appeasement never leads to peace, but to war. This was the case with Hitler in 1938/39 and in Ukraine before the Russian intervention in February 2022. Any manager who wants to avoid war and the resulting economic upheaval and sanctions (as against and by Russia in 2022) out of self-interest must support a credible peace and deterrence strategy.

Moreover, such a confrontation is not in the interest of the Chinese people.

Therefore, any 'provocative weakness' must be avoided. Companies need a smart China strategy. Above all, this includes fair competitive conditions.

7. Military Containment needed

Only the USA can contain China now, allied with Japan, South Korea, Australia, India and European nations such as the UK.

Still many people warn of what they call ‘confrontation’, push for ‘dialogue’ and criticize an ‘aggressive tone’ against Beijing. They are essentially promoting appeasement. But is this the adequate strategy with regard to the Communist Party of China? Did it work well in the past? Not at all. Appeasement is provocative weakness. It makes the CP of China hungrier and more aggressive. Therefore, it makes confrontation and war more likely.

Provocative weakness needs to be avoided thereby weakening the Red Dragons and promoting the Panda bears in the Communist Party as well as the Chinese elites.

Without credible deterrence by the United States and its allies Japan and South Korea or the UK, the Red Dragons will dominate.

We have to draw a lesson from beginning of the Second World War in Asia. It started with Japanese Dragons invading other countries like China. Moreover, underestimating the United States and attacking Pearl Harbor. The aggressive, ignorant and arrogant Japanese leadership and the military. overestimated the threats and underestimated the strength of its adversaries. The same can happen again to China.

8. Think like Xi - Taiwan is the new Pearl Harbor.

Like Japan on December 7, 1941, Xi could think Taiwan is essential for his image and an easy win. Using a boycott or attack.

Leading to a new ice age in the relations with the West.

Which, he could calculate, is too weak and split to react forcefully.

Few people in the inner circle dare to tell him the truth.

Attacking Taiwan is not in Beijing´s interest.

It would be the beginning of the end.

This must be told Xi again and again, by non-Chinese individuals

Downplaying Western reactions now by promoting ‘deescalation’ as well as distancing oneself from U.S.’ appeals, motivate aggressive behavior by the Red Dragon. Such an approach would promote war, not peace. Just like the proponents of appeasement Chamberlain and Daladier in the 1930s stimulated Hitler´s desire to invade the Rhineland in 1936 and Czechoslovakia in 1938 - the beginning of the end and World War Two.

To avoid misperception by Xi, an underlying credible deterrence strategy ought to determine the policy of the U.S., Japan, South Korea, Australia and the European Union and the UK.

Ukraine´s provocative weakness lacking credible defenses inspired Russian president Putin´s decision to invade in February 2022 - we should have learned this lesson by now.

It is crystal-clear that Xi is playing the Taiwan power game according to the teachings of Sun Tsu.

Xi will not attack if he thinks he could possibly lose.

It is less important what people in the West think, but instead how Xi and his people think.

Perception and mentality matter most.

Xi has not decided to attack Taiwan or strangulate it with a boycott. He is testing how far he can go. How will Taiwan react? What will the U.S. and other nations do?.

If his perception tells him he will lose a war, he will not start it.

If he thinks he will win, he will attack.

Therefore, credible deterrence matters most.

Xi is following a perfect Sun Tsu strategy. We know it, but many do not get it. The appeasers set the wrong signals of provocative weakness, which promotes exactly the war they want to avoid being nice to Mr. Xi.

Xi will not attack Taiwan for two reasons:

First, he can't calculate how the US military would react.

Second, China will not have the military capabilities for an attack before 2030.

9. Master Plan “Fair Partnership with China” comprising 13 actions

What kind of a new China strategy can North America, Europe and their global allies employ to protect their interests and keep the People’s Republic of China on an equal footing?

Our proposal for a Containment Master Plan “Fair Partnership with China” contains these 13 elements:

9.1. A unified containment policy of all democracies. The West must draw up a joint master plan. It must be consistently implemented as a bloc of democracies with adequate funding, creativity, strong nerves and courage.

Either the People’s Republic of China as a strong dictatorship dominates world politics in all areas and Western values and interests come second, or the U.S., Europe, plus Japan and other states avoid this new domination by exerting their joint power.

With a fresh, creative containment policy.

Kowtow or Assertion - this decision cannot be avoided.

Joint action by Europe and the United States of America – in alliance with other democratic countries such as Japan, South Korea, Australia, New Zealand, Canada including India – can keep the fire-breathing Chinese dragon at bay.

Both the European Union (450 million) and the U.S. (330 million) are too small alone to effectively contain the People’s Republic of China.

London started to promote a new cooperation forum in summer 2020: a club of the ten most important democracies, called “D 10”, including Japan, Australia, South Korea and India. This forum is going to be tasked for example with developing alternatives to Huawei technology for 5G and new 6G and secure important supply chains.

The EU concluded a Comprehensive Agreement on Investment (CAI) with the PR of China on December 30, 2020. Brussels is quite optimistic. Again, wishful thinking? Will China live up to its commitments or break them as exemplified by the treaty with Great Britain on Hong Kong, existing agreements on patent protection or against international corruption?

It would make more sense to conclude a Global Investment Protection Agreement with China of all democratic countries together. After seven years of negotiations, it no longer matters if it takes only a few months more to finalize the agreement.

Overcoming divisions in Europe.

The EU and NATO must commit all members – especially Greece, Hungary, Italy – to a common, assertive containment policy towards China and must not allow themselves to be divided any further.

Only the Europeans as a whole have strategic influence, no longer individual countries such as Germany or the UK. Europe is a major economic power , but only if it is united. That´s why Beijing aims at sowing division wherever possible. It wants special bilateral relations with every country.

China wants to separate Europe from the USA. Europe is to remain neutral in the conflict with the USA.

Xi's goal is to split up the unity of the West, primarily the separation of Europe and the USA. This is also Putin's main goal.

The West must draw up its own joint master plan. Including the US, Europe, Japan, South Korea, Australia. India separate.

It must be consistently implemented as a bloc of democracies with a adequate funding, creativity, strong nerves and courage.

On April 10, 2024, US President Jo Biden invited the heads of government of Japan and the Philippines to the White House for a historic trilateral meeting for the first time. A clear signal of unity and deterrence to Beijing.

9.2 Engage the Global South more intelligently. We must re-establish better contacts with the countries of the Global South and prevent them from slipping into the China-Russia camp.

Europe should develop both an alternative to China’s Silk Road project and a development plan for neighboring Africa. China is being viewed more and more critically there, even as "red-painted colonialists".

Why not establish two international commissions to investigate the causes of the global corona pandemic in Wuhan and the oppression of the Muslim minority?

9.3 De-risking - no de-coupling. Decoupling means putting all relations on ice. De-risking is better, i.e. risk reduction and mitigation, because China is still needed as an economic partner.

9.4.  Don’t stay silent, stand up. No subservience, but instead more self-confidence. China currently considers itself the winner in systems competition.

9.5. Transparency and honesty. They are indispensable. Being candid about what you want and what is prohibited. No subservience, but instead more self-confidence.

9.6. Support the Chinese forces of humanity and freedom. Because they are the good future of the country and contain aggressors. This includes immediate entry bans on Chinese officials in all Western countries who are responsible for serious human rights violations and industrial espionage.

Invitations to the Dalai Lama and other freedom fighters, instead of appeasement and silence. More visits to Taiwan and support for defense. We should not conveniently duck away or remain silent but uphold our values and defend them against the aggressive dragon warriors and thus strengthen the panda faction.

9.7. Chinese acquisitions under stricter government reservation. Government approval should be lowered to five percent for participations by Chinese companies.

9.8 Establish reciprocity. Everything that China is allowed to do in the West, the West can do in China. Everything that is forbidden to the West in China is also forbidden to the Chinese in the West. Fair trade and equal rights in market access, patent protection and investment.

9.9 Building large international IT and AI consortia. From the U.S., EU, UK, Japan, South Korea, India, Singapore for 6G and AI in the Fourth Industrial Revolution. No access of Huawei in sensitive areas and choosing Nokia, Ericsson and Cisco as independent alternatives to 5G.

9.10 Developing strategically important production capacities. In Europe and the US. For example, for masks or raw materials for medicines. In addition, more production in India and Southeast Asia.

9.11. Radically reducing industrial dependence on China. Increase focus on India and Southeast Asia. In July 2020 Japan paid over $ 653 million to 87 companies that decided to withdraw their production sites from China.

9.12. Punish abuse consistently with a zero-tolerance policy and avoid provocative weakness. Stricter supervision of compliance with all treaties and immediate sanctions for abusive behavior. This applies to ignoring Beijing’s illegal claims in the South China Sea and the breach of the agreement with Great Britain on Hong Kong. Establishment of an international commission to investigate the causes of the global corona pandemic in Wuhan and the oppression of the Muslim minority.

9.13. Transparency. Disclose the activities of the China lobby, cyber-attacks and industrial espionage no longer politely concealing them. The West must command the facts. Real-time data on global trade with China are often missing. This needs to be improved through using of AI.

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Important documents and links can be found here.

Henry A. Kissinger

Read his book ‘On China’ (2012)

Top China Research Institutes

University of Oxford China Center

Top China Research Institutes

Harvard University Fairbank Center for Chinese Studies

Top China Research Institutes

Stanford Center of East Asian Studies

Top China Research Institutes

South China Sea Dispute

European Commission

Working Document on Significant Distortions in the Economy of the People’s Republic of China for the Purpose of Trade Defence Investigations, April 10, 2024

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