• Germany's news in English
 
app_header_v3

Merkel raises human rights on China trip

AFP · 8 Jul 2014, 08:37

Published: 08 Jul 2014 08:37 GMT+02:00

The German leader, who grew up in the former East Germany, noted in her carefully worded remarks at the elite Tsinghua University in Beijing that China and Germany have a forum to discuss rights.
 
"To me, this dialogue is very important because 25 years ago, when the peaceful revolution took place in the former GDR, this finally led to the fall of the Berlin Wall and enabled us to have a free dialogue," she said, referring the German Democratic Republic, East Germany's formal name.
 
"I think it's also important here in China to have such a free dialogue," she said.
 
Merkel's remarks are in contrast to many other recent Western visitors to China, who have shied away from publicly commenting on human rights as they pursue trade deals with the world's second-biggest economy.
 
In Tiananmen's shadow
 
The chancellor spoke in an auditorium on the Tsinghua campus a little over a month after the 25th anniversary of the bloody June 3-4, 1989 Tiananmen Square crackdown in Beijing, an event Chinese authorities have worked hard to erase from the public memory.
 
Merkel grew up in Communist East Germany, where freedoms were severely curtailed and the state engaged in mass spying on its citizens.
 
"It's important that citizens can believe in the power of the law, and not the law of the powerful," she said.
 
"It's important to have laws on this regard, that function as a guardian of principles. You need on open, pluralistic and free society in order to shape the future successfully."
 
Business deals rack up
 
The chancellor is on her seventh visit to China since since coming to power in 2005 and her trip has been largely focused on business issues, with Germany the EU's biggest economy.
 
On Monday, the two countries signed a series of trade and investment deals, including agreements on two new Volkswagen factories and the sale of 123 Airbus helicopters.
 
Story continues below…
Merkel angered Beijing in 2007 by meeting Tibet's exiled spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, whom ruling Communist Party leaders consider a dangerous separatist.
 
Any official discussion of human rights on her latest visit was expected to take place behind closed doors, an approach that German officials have argued can be more effective in China than finger-wagging reprimands.
 
The chancellor was met with polite applause at the conclusion of her address, which also touched on topics including global economic sustainability and climate change.
 

For more news from Germany, join us on Facebook and Twitter.

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Far-right AfD leader injured by flying frozen cake
Jörg Meuthen and a cake. Photo: DPA

The co-leader of the far-right AfD party was attacked with a cake while attending a political event on Monday. But the fact the dessert was frozen made the act "dangerous", according to the politician.

Underwater pensioner hunts boats on famed Bavarian lake
A passenger boat on Lake Starnberg. Photo: DPA

"I love chasing the ships, and what a great feeling it is when they sound the horn!" he gleefully exclaims.

What are Merkel's chances for remaining Chancellor?
Photo: DPA.

She's already held the Chancellery for over a decade, but infighting with political allies as well as a rocky response to her refugee policies may put a damper on Angela Merkel's staying power.

German EU commissioner doubts Brexit will happen
EU Energy Commissioner Günther Oettinger. Photo: EPA.

Germany's EU Commissioner Günther Oettinger raised doubts on Tuesday about whether Britain would leave the bloc, saying he wouldn't bet on "Brexit".

Merkel offers Russia a lifting of sanctions - if it behaves
Angela Merkel. Photo: DPA

Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Monday that she has "the very greatest interest in stopping sanctions" against Russia, Reuters reports.

'Idiot' youth lets regional train drive over him as dare
Photo: DPA

In a stunt police have described as "incomprehensible idiocy," a drunk young man from Munich lay down on the tracks in front of a fast-moving train and let it ride over him.

'Unfriendly' Germans make expat life harder: report
Photo: Pexels.com

Expats in Germany generally find it great for families and starting a career, but were turned off by the language barriers and "unfriendly" Germans upon arrival, according to a new report.

Is German diplomacy getting too chummy with Russia?
Russian President Vladimir Putin meeting German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier. Photo: DPA/AFP Pool.

Critics have been questioning the German Foreign Minister's recent series of comments about working closer with Russia, with some labelling the diplomat a "Russia-sympathizer".

Police investigate after mosque door is bricked shut
The bricked-up door. Photo: Facebook/Netzwerk für Flüchtlinge in Parchim.

Unknown people have bricked up the entrance to a mosque in northeastern Germany and stuck racist flyers to their masonry work.

Vice-Chancellor: TTIP trade deal is dead
Photo: DPA

Vice-Chancellor Sigmar Gabriel said on Sunday that negotiations on a massive trade deal between the European Union and the United States were effectively dead in the water.

Sponsored Article
Why you should attend an international job fair
National
Ouch! Naked swimmer hospitalized after angler hooks his penis
Sponsored Article
Why expats choose international health insurance
National
Six reasons why Berlin is now known as 'the failed city'
National
15 tell-tale signs you’ll never quite master German
Sponsored Article
Why you should attend an international job fair
Culture
7 American habits that make Germans very, very uncomfortable
Sponsored Article
Life in Jordan: 'Undiscovered treasure'
Rhineland
Story of a fugitive cow who outwitted police for weeks before capture
Culture
Eleven famous Germans with surnames that'll make your sides split
Lifestyle
The best ways to get a visa as an American in Germany
Sponsored Article
Why Jordan is the ‘Different’ East
Gallery
Germany's 17 Olympic gold medals in pictures
Sponsored Article
Five things Americans should know about voting abroad
14 facts you never knew about the Brandenburg Gate
Society
Ten times Germans proved they really, really love beer
Sponsored Article
Jordan Pass: your ticket to the experience of a lifetime
Lifestyle
What's on in Germany: events for August 2016
Sponsored Article
Jordan: where history meets adventure
National
Six things you need to know when moving to Germany
Travel
These 10 little-known German towns are a must see
Sponsored Article
6 reasons expats use TransferWise to send money
International
German scientists prove birds can sleep while flying
Sponsored Article
Why you should attend an international job fair
Technology
London v. Berlin: Which is better for startups?
Sponsored Article
Five things Americans should know about voting abroad
Lifestyle
13 mortifying mistakes German learners always make
Sponsored Article
Jordan: where history meets adventure
Travel
Enter if you dare: Berlin's best abandoned haunts
Sponsored Article
6 reasons expats use TransferWise to send money
Lifestyle
10 rookie errors all Brits make when they arrive in Germany
National
How to get German citizenship (or just stay forever)
Technology
Brexit will turn Berlin into 'Europe’s startup capital'
Travel
Six soothing day trips to escape the bustle of Berlin
International
'Germany needs to make UK come to its senses'
Features
Six odd things Germans do in the summer
7,567
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd