German calling for Taiwan's recognition meets diplomat

Man behind petition to have Germany recognize Taiwan meets with country's representative

Taiwan's representative to Germany Shieh Jhy-wey and Michael Kreuzberg. (Shieh Jhy-wey Facebook photo)

Taiwan's representative to Germany Shieh Jhy-wey and Michael Kreuzberg. (Shieh Jhy-wey Facebook photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Michael Kreuzberg, the German behind a petition calling on his country to establish diplomatic relations with Taiwan, met with Taiwan's representative to Germany Shieh Jhy-wey (謝志偉) on Monday (Nov. 4).

The petition, started by Michael Kreuzberg, is titled "Foreign Policy - Establishment of Diplomatic relations with the Republic of China (Taiwan)" and was originally posted on May 31. On Sept. 11, the petition was made public so people could add their signatures, and included a "Taiwan" nationality option.

The petition requests the German Bundestag call on the federal government to establish full diplomatic relations with Taiwan. As the petition was written just days before the 30th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square Massacre on June 4, it was a reminder from Kreuzberg that China's communist regime has full diplomatic recognition and membership at the United Nations, yet crushed "thousands of peacefully demonstrating people" with troops and tanks.

On a Facebook post on Tuesday (Nov. 5), Shieh said that after the petition for the establishment of diplomatic relations between Germany and Taiwan reached the 50,000 signature threshold on Oct. 4, many Germans had reached out to him suggesting he should contact the petitioner.

They urged him to exchange views with him on Taiwan before the public discussion is held at the Bundestag in December. After carrying out a search, Shieh was able to contact Kreuzberg by phone.

Kreuzberg responded that he was surprised to learn Taiwan had a representative office in Berlin and that he would like to meet Shieh in person. During their phone conversation, Kreuzberg said he grew up in East Germany and despises Communist China.

"But 30 years later, Germany still recognizes the Chinese Communist regime that continues to violate human rights, while not establishing diplomatic relations with a free and democratic Taiwan! I think this is very unfair to Taiwan!" Kreuzberg reportedly said.

Shieh wrote that tears ran down his face when he heard Kreuzberg's impassioned words. Kreuzberg said that in recent years, he has done a lot of aid work in Africa and Asia.

Last year, Kreuzberg said he decided to go to Taiwan with some friends to witness Taiwanese society firsthand, rather than go to "communist-ruled China." He said he spent 10 days in Taiwan and was "deeply touched by the friendly, free and democratic lifestyle of Taiwanese."

As Kreuzberg had been scheduled to attend meetings in Berlin from Nov. 3 to Nov. 5, he arranged to meet with Shieh at that time. When they met, the two agreed that "they do not expect the German government to establish diplomatic relations with Taiwan as a result."

However, both believe the public discussion in the Bundestag will enable German society and media to better understand that Taiwan is a "valuable beacon of freedom and democracy, which is the key point." Shieh told Kreuzberg that, in addition to Germany, similar petitions sent to the U.S.White House and Australian House of Representatives have gained thousands of signatures."