Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock responded calmly to Chinese criticism after describing state and party leader Xi Jinping as a dictator. When asked whether she had already received an official protest from Beijing and how she would react, the Green politician replied on the sidelines of UN Week in New York: “I have taken note of it.” Even when asked, Baerbock did not want to comment in more detail.

In response to Baerbock, Beijing hired the German ambassador. A spokesman for the Foreign Office confirmed this in the evening; several media outlets had previously reported. The ambassador in Beijing had already been summoned on Sunday.

China had rejected Baerbock’s characterization of Xi as a dictator as a political provocation. “The German side’s statements are extremely absurd, seriously insult China’s political dignity and are an open political provocation,” Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Mao Ning said in Beijing. China contradicts what the German side said and has contacted Germany about it through diplomatic channels.

Biden had also described Xi Jinping as a “dictator”.

Baerbock commented on the Russian war of aggression in Ukraine in an interview with the US television channel Fox News on September 14th during her trip to Texas. Referring to Russian President Vladimir Putin, she said at the time: “If Putin were to win this war, what kind of sign would that be for other dictators in the world, like Xi, like the Chinese president?” The Green politician added: “That’s why Ukraine must win this war. Freedom and democracy must win.”

US President Joe Biden has also described Xi Jinping as a “dictator” in the past, most recently in June. The communist leadership in Beijing also reacted indignantly and called it a provocation.