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Germany to press China on human rights and artist Ai Weiwei

Published: 26 Jun 2011 14:33 GMT+02:00

"Despite the relief that Ai Weiwei is back with his family, it remains a fact that his freedom is subject to oppressive restrictions," Westerwelle told the Welt am Sonntag newspaper.

The internationally renowned contemporary artist was released from jail after 80 days on tax-evasion charges. The 54-year-old has been told by authorities that he cannot leave the Chinese capital nor discuss his case.

"The quality and depth of our relationship allows us to talk about even difficult subjects," Westerwelle said, adding that he would make clear to his Chinese guests "how important freedom of opinion, freedom of the press and the respect for human rights are to us."

On Monday, Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao will arrive in Germany from Britain with 13 ministers and a large business delegation. After a working dinner with Chancellor Angela Merkel on Monday evening, there will be a joint cabinet meeting on Tuesday.

Several lucrative business contracts will also be signed. Westerwelle said that trade between Germany and China trade surpassed €130 billion ($185 billion) in 2010.

However, he insisted Germany would not soft-pedal its message on humans rights over fears about hindering future growth.

DPA/DAPD/AFP/kdj

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Your comments about this article

07:29 June 27, 2011 by Zlik
Glad he is at least free, meaning out.
09:17 June 27, 2011 by freechoice
Stop selling those Audi's, Merc and BMW's to those corrupt officials. See if they will capitulate under the might of German industrial might! And when there is no way to spend their corrupt money, maybe they would be so corrupt? Well It's my dream of course.
17:32 June 28, 2011 by derExDeutsche
haha. don't worry, China . Keep doing what you do so well ! The German Govt. can always be bought off ;) . Hell, it might be time for a Chinese built stadium or Memorial in Berlin soon .
02:45 July 2, 2011 by padu
---"Stop selling those Audi's, Merc and BMW's to those corrupt officials"?

"freechoice" is too idiotic dreamer to know CHinese officials are not allowed to use of Merc and BMW while Audi is made in China. Almost all these cars are bought by Chinese new-rich your Germans look with green-eys.

China is the greatest market for all these three brands and without this market, 200,000 Germany workers would become jobless as you.
15:37 July 2, 2011 by Bruno53
Hey Germans: first correct the violence against minorities in your country, and let China minds her own business!!
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