DW: German petition on Taiwan forces government to justify ‘one China’ policy

To commemorate the 30th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square massacre in June 2019, Kreuzberg decided to make a statement for “small, courageous Taiwan.”

He filed a petition with the German Parliament, the Bundestag, calling for Germany to establish formal diplomatic relations with Taiwan.

According to German law, everyone has the right to submit a petition with requests or complaints to the parliamentary petition committee, which then decides whether to publish the petition for the public to consider supporting. If a petition is published, and then receives over 50,000 signatures, it is discussed publicly during one of several annual meetings of the petition committee.

In Kreuzberg’s case, the committee rejected his request and said it would not publish the petition on its website.

According to a copy of the rejection letter seen by DW, the German Foreign Ministry advised the committee not to publish Kreuzberg’s petition because it risked contradicting Germany’s “one China policy” and doing “damage to international relations or intercultural dialogue” with China.

Not to be deterred, Kreuzberg appealed the decision, arguing that there were already China-critical essays on the government website. He turned to the center-left Green party for help.

A few weeks later, Kreuzberg received notice that the petition committee would publish the Taiwan petition.

“I told a few friends about it who signed it, and I thought if I can get a few hundred signatures, then it would be a success,” said Kreuzberg. “I never counted on actually reaching the minimum level of votes for a hearing,” he said.

But within two weeks, the petition received over 30,000 signatures. Two weeks later, it cracked the 50,000 mark — enough to require the petition committee to publicly debate Kreuzberg’s request for diplomatic recognition of Taiwan during its next session on December 9.

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