Wednesday, March 24, 2021

China Sanctions Europe's Leading Think Tank on China

On March 22, China announced that it sanctioned 10 European individuals and four entities, including a European think tank and several scholars, citing "severe harm to China's sovereignty and interests and the malicious spreading of lies and disinformation."

Berlin, Germany-based think tank Mercator Institute for China Studies (MERICS), one of the entities sanctioned, issued a statement saying it regrets China's decision and rejects all allegations.  MERICS was founded in 2013 by Stiftung Mercator, one of Germany's largest private foundations.

MERICS partners with numerous research institutions and consulting firms overseas, including the US-based Rhodium Group.

Together with the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS), MERICS set up the China Security Project in 2017.  The project develops insights on China's defense and security policies, industries, global power projection capabilities, and implications for Europe and NATO.

MERICS has also supported the Center for a New American Security (CNAS) in launching the Technology Alliance Project.  And since 2018, MERICS has been a partner of the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) in the Allied Economic Forum.

Mr. Simon Rabinovitch, a journalist for The Economist, said he was "stunned to see China's list of European sanctions include MERICS of all places: Europe's biggest think tank devoted to China."  MERICS calls itself "Europe's leading China think tank."

Here is a recent infographic that MERICS published on the Chinese Communist Party (CCP).

Here is MERICS' "Global China Inc. Tracker."

Last year, China threatened to sue German researcher Adrian Zenz (who was one of the individuals China just sanctioned) along with the think tank Australian Strategic Policy Institute (ASPI).

China recently released a video warning about foreign think tanks.

Update: Here is a joint statement by European think tank directors on the sanctions.  CSIS scholars have also released a statement in support of MERICS.