Unfortunately, so far as the EU is concerned, the Brussels establishment has proved itself to be little more than a paper tiger when it comes to dealing with China’s more aggressive diplomatic approach, as can be seen from the EU’s most recent act of appeasement towards Beijing. The latest controversy concerns an article written by Nicolas Chapuis, the EU’s ambassador to China, which was conceived to mark the 45th anniversary of EU-China diplomatic relations, and was also signed by all 27 EU country national ambassadors in Beijing.
The article was written for publication in the state-owned China Daily newspaper, but ran into trouble when China’s foreign ministry objected to a reference in the article which suggested the coronavirus pandemic originated in China. The offending passage referred to the “outbreak of the coronavirus in China, and its subsequent spread to the rest of the world.”
The article eventually appeared in print, but not before EU officials had agreed to remove this passage, prompting Mr Chapuis to remark, “It is of course regrettable to see that the sentence about the spread of the virus has been edited.”
The EU’s willingness to concede to Beijing’s bully-boy tactics is not the first time in recent weeks that Brussels has been forced to capitulate to Chinese intimidation. Last month, the EU amended a report into China’s disinformation campaign in Europe following pressure from Chinese officials. This prompted one outraged EU official to complain that the EU was “self-censoring to appease the Chinese Communist Party.”