Herbert Diess and China – that is a special chapter. The Volkswagen boss has now explained once again in “Spiegel” how important business is in and with the Middle Kingdom, important for him, VW, Germany. Not exactly a small coin.

He is right in two ways: without the mega-market of China, many things would be nothing in this country, and inflation would be even higher. But: You can have blue eyes and get them too. China is not squeamish in its choice of means.

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That the elite in Beijing is continuing to open up the country economically – yes, what does that mean? But only economically. So far, the rule of law dialogue has not brought any significant results, at least not with regard to human rights.

It may well be that 30 religious minorities work in the Chinese VW plant and that prayer times are observed. That’s how it should be. More than a million mostly Muslim Uyghurs are still being harassed in “re-education camps” around the corner.

And the fact that China executes the most people in the world shows once again that the concept of “change through trade” does not work in this case either.

Yes, that’s right: Diess means that you can say anything to the Chinese – more precisely: to the nomenklatura. It’s just that she’s obviously not listening. The situation is simply not getting any better, not by Western standards. As good as it is at copying, China will not adopt these values. Look, yes, but point out whether they are a threat to their own power.

That’s who they are: there are around 96 million party members in this huge country with well over a billion people, and it’s constantly growing. So it’s not as much as it sounds. But the party will not lose an iota of influence for that very reason. Since the VW boss can understand as he wants.

In any case, not much is credited to the West. The Chinese self-image is different: to be the leading nation in the world, just not yet back on the place where it is accustomed to. That’s what the nice Mr. Xi, Xi Jinping, is working on, who even surpasses Mao in will to power.

How good that the G7 want to provide 600 billion dollars for infrastructure in developing countries with a view to Beijing’s activities. That shows: you have understood. The competition must be with China, but not only in one respect. Like Russia, China will be a challenge. In its own way, the Silk Road project also shows imperial aspirations.

Against this background, the need for self-assurance increases, as does the need for demarcation – and efforts to reduce dependencies.

Keep your eyes open, otherwise there will also be serious economic injuries. At VW, in Germany. The unobstructed view of China, taken to the top shelf, can become a question of survival for nations committed to liberal values.