German newspapers were especially critical of Beijing's apparent tolerance of product piracy as an effort to boost its economy. Commentaries followed Thursday's talks between Chancellor Merkel and Chinese PM Wen Jiabao.
German companies are concerned about product piracy in China
"Business with China is good. As world champion in exports, Germany shouldn't be bothered that the Chinese are exporting more than they're importing for a change," wrote the daily Mitteldeutsche Zeitung Friday from Halle. However, Germany still has reason to question Beijing on trade, continued the paper. "German companies openly complain about technology theft and product piracy in China. There is no such thing as fair competition at the moment, to the detriment of Germany as an innovative center of technology." A "raw wind blows there," concluded the paper, and German companies should keep in mind that "not every deal on the mega-market pays off."
"Behind the diplomatic rituals is the realization on the German side that politics has long ceased to be capable of steering China's economy onto a path that meets its own power and prosperity interests," wrote the daily Berliner Zeitung in an editorial Friday. Merkel and her foreign policy advisors are fully aware that Beijing supports product piracy in order to help modernize Chinese companies, continued the paper. "On the other hand, China's Prime Minister Wen Jiabao knows very well that he is not seen as a friend in Berlin, though he may have been received as one. The government in Beijing looks on with great concern as public opinion in the West increasingly makes China's economic upturn a scapegoat for its own problems."
"The sober truth," wrote the Saarbrücker Zeitung daily, "is that political criticism tends to simmer over a small flame when economic interests are at stake." As China's most important European trading partner, Germany is interested in how it will get a handle on piracy. "The government in Beijing continually promises solutions, but the suspicion is great that dishonest methods are being tolerated in high places in order to move China ahead economically. The agreement on verification personnel signed in Berlin is just a drop in the ocean," the paper concluded.
"It's problematic that Beijing watches while copying and re-engineering is going on across the country," wrote Die Welt daily on Friday from Berlin. "It's a serious problem that these things are secretly being encouraged and it doesn't promote investment from abroad." The paper quoted Napoleon as having said, "Let the sleeping dragon lie, for when he wakes he will shake the earth from its orbit." China is on its way to being a world power and to creating global problems, concluded the paper. "Dealing with this rise to power, without demonizing it, is the biggest challenge for the US, Europe and Russia."