Huangshan, 31 August – 2 September 2012
A few weeks ahead of the leadership transition in Beijing three topics were at the heart of discussions of the 151th Bergedorf Round Table: China’s development, its foreign policy, as well as prospects for cooperation between China and Europe.
35 politicians, diplomats, experts and representatives of the business community from China and Europe met in Huangshan, Anhui province to deliberate on “What China Wants”. What kind of political, economic and social decisions will China be making in the years ahead? What is China's approach to global hot spots? And how could China and Europe cooperate more closely, for instance to overcome the euro crisis.
The complexity of the Chinese notion of harmony on the personal, social and international levels – governing principle of China’s development – was explained in some detail. The participants all agreed that in China the wealth gap between the rich and the poor constituted a major challenge and that concrete improvements in the standard of living was now amongst the top priorities of Beijing’s political agenda.
With regard to China’s role in a new world order, the Chinese participants stated that the foreign policy of the People’s Republic was peaceful and defensive, and its aim was pursuing its own course of development in harmonious interaction with the other actors. Yet, they claimed respect for national sovereignty and the principle of non-intervention in the internal affairs of other states, also in the case of Syria.
Some participants were guardedly critical of European crisis management, which they thought was too slow and lacked resolve: Europe’s leverage in the region was limited to its exports and the Euro – if the Euro fails, Europe would lose its role in the region. Prospects for closer cooperation between China and Europe were mainly seen on the security policy level.
Among the participants was the Minister of State in the Federal Foreign Office Michael Georg Link, the Vice Chairman of the National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) Sun Jiazheng, the fmr. Chairman of the Environmental and Resources Protection Committee of the 10th National People’s Congress Mao Rubai, and the Members of the German Bundestag Viola von Cramon, Roderich Kiesewetter and Rolf Mützenich. The Bergedorf Round Table took place in cooperation with the International Department of the Central Committee of the Chinese Communist Party.
Prior to the start of the conference, the participants visited Yanqian, a village in Anhui province in order to learn more about the challenges for China’s rural development.