Wednesday

26th Apr 2017

Focus

Chinese fund manager lambasts EU 'sloth, indolence'

  • Chinese coal mine. Jin's picture of 'hard working' Chinese and lazy Europeans stands next to NGO reports of 'sweatshop' conditions in major Chinese factories (Photo: AdamCohn)

Using language recalling German tabloid depictions of "lazy Greeks", the chairman of China's sovereign wealth fund has said the EU as a whole suffers from "sloth" and "indolence."

Jin Liquin made the comments during a TV interview with Al Jazeera on Sunday (6 November).

Dear EUobserver reader

Subscribe now for unrestricted access to EUobserver.

Sign up for 30 days' free trial, no obligation. Full subscription only 15 € / month or 150 € / year.

  1. Unlimited access on desktop and mobile
  2. All premium articles, analysis, commentary and investigations
  3. EUobserver archives

EUobserver is the only independent news media covering EU affairs in Brussels and all 28 member states.

♡ We value your support.

If you already have an account click here to login.

"If you look at the troubles which have happened in European countries, this is purely because of the troubles of a worn-out welfare society. I think [the EU's] welfare laws are outdated. The labour laws induce sloth, indolence. The incentive system is totally out of sink," he said.

He referred to "some countries [which] happily retire at 55 to languish on the beach."

Jin contrasted the EU work ethic to the situation in China: "We in China are working very hard. The Chinese people are working very hard to build up our nation, to move forward. So if you say: 'European countries are in trouble why don't you pour you resources into these countries in trouble.' Our people would ask: 'Hey. Are you sure we can get a fair return on our investment?'"

Jin's remarks come after EU countries recently invited the Chinese Investment Corporartion (CIC) to put some of its €440 billion into the union's new bail-out fund, the EFSF.

But the CIC chairman said he will invest only if the EU puts forward a "credible reform programme."

He added he has no sympathy for EU political problems, such as getting all the parliaments of the 17 eurozone countries to agree to changes: "Having 17 parliaments and governments will not give eurozone members any excuses for not taking action."

Jin's praise of hard working Chinese people stands next to NGO reports of "sweatshop" conditions in some of its biggest factories.

Workers at Foxconn plants in Shenzhen and Chengdu, which make iPads and which saw 14 suicides in the past year, say they sleep 24-to-a-room, get one day off in 14 and earn 75 euro cents an hour. Workers at the Ford factory in Chengdu work 30 days a month in peak time and earn 80 cents.

Jin noted that after 30 years of rapid economic growth, China is entering "a new phase."

With the EU, in his view, too far to the left on labour issues, he said China is trying to rebalance its domestic situation by taxing the rich, dropping income tax for poor farm workers, investing in education for the poor and building new infrastructure in outlying regions.

China shows interest in sponsoring EU bail-outs

Chinese diplomats are awaiting a detailed proposal on taking part in the EU bail-out fund, the EFSF, while promising not to push for market economy status or lifting the arms embargo in return.

Chinese ratings agency downgrades Greece

China's ratings agency Dagong on Tuesday downgraded Greece's sovereign rating to the second-lowest 'default' level, a move suggesting Beijing has no intention of "playing Santa Claus" to the ailing eurozone, experts say.

Chinese official: Eurozone collapse would be a 'disaster'

A collapse of the eurozone would be a "disaster for everyone" and EU leaders have not "fully realised" the urgency of the situation, a Chinese official said Tuesday, adding that Europe's problem is not money, but lack of confidence.

China urges Germany and France to solve euro-crisis

Chinese Prime Minister Wen Jiabao on Thursday offered vague promises to buy bonds from troubled euro-countries, but said that it is ultimately up to Germany and France to solve the crisis.

News in Brief

  1. EU parliament moves to lift Le Pen's immunity
  2. EU Commission launches probe into Hungary's university law
  3. Scots slowly losing appetite for independence - poll
  4. Council of Europe puts Turkey on watch list
  5. EU to put parental leave on political agenda
  6. Israel cancels German meeting over human rights groups
  7. Hungary's Orban will participate in EU parliament debate
  8. Malta floats cash-for-refugees plan

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. UNICEFRace Against Time to Save Millions of Lives in Yemen
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersDeveloping Independent Russian-Language Media in the Baltic Countries
  3. Swedish EnterprisesReform of the European Electricity Market: Lessons from the Nordics, Brussels 2 May
  4. Malta EU 2017Green Light Given for New EU Regulation to Bolster External Border Checks
  5. Counter BalanceCall for EU Commission to Withdraw Support of Trans-Adriatic Pipeline
  6. ACCAEconomic Confidence at Highest Since 2015
  7. European Federation of Allergy and Airways60%-90% of Your Life Is Spent Indoors. How Does Poor Indoor Air Quality Affect You?
  8. European Gaming and Betting AssociationCJEU Confirms Obligation for a Transparent Licensing Process
  9. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Region and the US: A Time of Warlike Rhetoric and Militarisation?
  10. European Free AllianceEFA MEPs Vote in Favor of European Parliament's Brexit Mandate
  11. Mission of China to the EUXinhua Insight: China to Open up Like Never Before
  12. World VisionViolence Becomes New Normal for Syrian Children

Latest News

  1. Brexit is about Europe's future as well
  2. Power struggle in Greenland: Three reasons why the EU should care
  3. Nordic and Baltic countries step up digitalisation efforts
  4. European states still top media freedom list
  5. Let’s not put European public health at risk
  6. Threatened Budapest university calls for EU support
  7. Orban set to face down EU threats
  8. Dont expect 'quick fix' in Syria, China tells EU