China, EU choose co-op over differences

A Summit among Chinese, German and EU leaders was held via video conference on Monday. According to the briefing from the Chinese side, the summit achieved a number of results, including the goal to conclude negotiations on the China-EU Bilateral Investment Treaty within the year. Official information from Germany and the EU also focused on cooperation. But European public opinion highlighted the differences between the two sides, which mirrors Europe’s normal state. Ideological differences between China and Europe have been existing for a long time. Yet the two sides continue to expand their cooperation and interactions. This is the general trend of China-Europe ties. The desire of both sides to keep strengthening the trend is real. It is a wish not only at the national levels, but also from their companies. Surveys conducted by the European Union Chamber of Commerce in China and China Chamber of Commerce to the EU show that if China further expands its market access, and Europe further improves its business environment, companies from both sides are willing to invest more in each other.
Economic and trade cooperation is the most substantial and stimulating part of China-Europe relations. It can provide a tremendous driving force for people-to-people and cultural exchanges, which in turn promote mutual understanding and tolerance between the two sides. Economic and trade cooperation between China and Europe could be considered well developed. China surpassed the US as Germany’s largest export market in the second quarter of 2020, and has long become some European countries’ biggest fashion market apart from the EU. The most common disputes between China and Europe are about human rights and in relevant fields, such as Xinjiang- and Tibet-related affairs, and the national security law for Hong Kong. But it needs to be pointed out that such clashes over human rights are ambiguous. It is true that there exist differences over human rights between the two sides. Yet the inaccurate part is that those disputes have been severely exaggerated. They have been turned into political clashes, even as a bargaining chip to pressure China, in an attempt to make the latter concede on economic and trade matters. Chinese society has absorbed part of Western concepts of human rights. Now, China pays great attention to the improvement of people’s livelihood and cherishes every single life during its epidemic fight. Has it had any impact on Europe? As China narrows its gap with the West in industrialization, exchanges on human rights will be a process to learn from one another. Gone is the era when the West could lecture China easily.
– Global Times