China's global influence to rise post-pandemic: European scholars

German expert warns US withdrawal from WHO will hand over more power to China

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Nadine Godehardt warns US withdrawal from WHO would give China more global control. (German Institute for International and Security Affairs photo)

Nadine Godehardt warns US withdrawal from WHO would give China more global control. (German Institute for International and Security Affairs photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — European scholars on Wednesday (May 27) warned it was likely that China would gain more global influence following the COVID-19 pandemic and urged European governments to reduce their dependency on the country.

During a seminar held by Germany's Green Party, several scholars from European think tanks were asked to share their forecasts on the world's post-pandemic landscape. The Green Party's parliamentary leader Katrin Göring-Eckardt was also in attendance.

Göring-Eckardt, known for her support of Hong Kong's autonomy, said she expected both Germany and the European Union (EU) to adopt stronger approaches toward China and speak up against its mooted national security law for the special administrative region. She emphasized that any hesitancy about standing up to China's human rights violations would enable it to extend its influence worldwide.

Gabriel Felbermayr, Austrian trade and economic expert of the Kiel Institute for the World Economy (IfW), noted the global economic focus shifted to China after the 2008 financial crisis. Despite China's possible economic stagnation this year, most Western societies would likely experience a more severe downturn, he said.

Felbermayr predicted that 2021 would follow the same pattern as the 2008 financial crisis, with many countries turning to China for financial stability. He added that China has greatly improved its technological autonomy, while its decreasing need for foreign imports would minimize other countries' influence on its economy.

German Institute for International and Security Affairs (SWP) scholar Nadine Godehardt warned the U.S. government's possible withdrawal from the World Health Organization (WHO) would assist China in carrying out its political agenda. She explained that Beijing has sought to replace the U.S. in global organizations, and European governments must take action and demonstrate leadership to prevent becoming pawns of the East Asian superpower, reported CNA.