Call for parliamentary inquiry into ‘long arm of Peking’

There must be a parliamentary inquiry into Chinas interference in the Netherlands. D66-MPs Jan Paternotte and Sjoerd Sjoerdsma advocate this in an opinion piece in NRC Handelsblad. For example, we need to make more clear about Chinese influence on Dutch educational institutions, intimidation of Chinese citizens in our country and economic espionage.

Previously, the House of Representatives examined, among other things, financing for mosques from abroad, such as Turkey or Qatar. But China, according to MPs, is often lacking when foreign influence is investigated. โ€œAnd that is a country with far more room for manoeuvre than Turkey or the Gulf States.โ€ They fear that China will emerge stronger from the coronacrisis, especially now that that crisis in the United States has โ€œexposed great weaknesses and divisions in the country.โ€

Paternotte and Sjoerdsma are concerned about economic espionage, cyber attacks and the harassment of Uyghurs in the Netherlands. In its own country, the Chinese Communist Government systematically oppresses this Islamic ethnic minority, including by imprisoning them in camps. China denies that.

Guided countries

The D66 people point to countries such as Sweden and Australia, which restricted Chinese interference in their country. There, educational institutions stopped their cooperation with the Chinese government and so-called Confucius Institutes, which want to convey Chinese language and culture and are funded from China, were closed. Paternotte and Shoerdsma call to learn from these countries.

A parliamentary inquiry is carried out by the House of Representatives or by a special committee. It is a less difficult instrument than a parliamentary inquiry. In this way, witnesses cannot be forced by the judge to cooperate.