Leopold Hoesch
Michael Wech
Peter Wolf
Michael Scheffold
Silent Invasion
China and the Balkans

In an era where geopolitical tensions simmer beneath the surface of global diplomacy, nowhere in Europe does China assert its geostrategic interests with as much confidence as in the Balkans. The documentary delves into the intricate web of influence China weaves across these nations, bolstering the authoritarian tendencies of certain governments, creating dependencies, and challenging the European Union, which has been engaged in accession negotiations with the Western Balkan countries for years.

Through investments and infrastructure projects in Serbia and Montenegro, the film meticulously analyzes how China binds these countries closer, creating a dependency that comes at a high cost. In return for its involvement, China expects political solidarity, especially evident in international forums like the United Nations when human rights issues are discussed, with Serbia consistently aligning with China.

"Silent Invasion" reveals how secretive agreements between Chinese state-owned enterprises and Western Balkan countries exclude local civil societies from participation. However, citizens are taking a stand. Journalistic investigations into the construction of Europe's largest tire factory by the Chinese conglomerate Linglong unveiled worker exploitation. Similarly, when the Chinese Zijin corporation took over the Bor copper mine, journalists and experts exposed the resultant air pollution, leading to government efforts to silence critics. In Belgrade, despite having one of the lowest crime rates in Europe, the widespread installation of Huawei surveillance cameras sparked activist outcry against the silent agreement between their government and China.

The documentary exposes the ruthless execution of large-scale projects that devastate the environment and solidify the authoritarian nature of the Western Balkan states by deliberately undermining the principles of rule of law. "Silent Invasion" is not just a tale of geopolitical maneuvering; it is a stark reminder of the complex challenges that arise when international ambitions collide with local realities, sovereignty, and the fight for democratic governance.


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