• Germany's news in English

Berlin inks deals, differs with Beijing on rights

The Local · 28 Jun 2011, 15:02

Published: 28 Jun 2011 15:02 GMT+02:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

The new contracts, including one for the purchase of 62 A320s from European aircraft manufacturer Airbus, were signed at a press conference with Wen and Chancellor Angela Merkel after a meeting of 23 German and Chinese ministers.

Berlin rolled out the red carpet during the two-day stay of the Chinese delegation, starting with an informal dinner for Wen and his inner circle hosted by Merkel at a lakeside villa Monday.

But Wen insisted Tuesday that despite "growing and deepening ties," he would not accept lectures on human rights or the rule of law from European partners.

"China respects the political system and the development model chosen by the citizens of the EU," he told a conference of German and Chinese business leaders at a Berlin hotel.

"In exchange, we expect from the EU respect of our sovereignty, our territorial integrity and the autonomous choices of the Chinese people."

At the press conference, Merkel welcomed the release of prominent Chinese dissident Hu Jia and outspoken artist Ai Weiwei from custody amid a government crackdown on dissent. But she said that Germany expected Ai's case and others like it to receive a "transparent" handling by Chinese authorities.

Western nations including Germany had repeatedly urged Ai's immediate release. But Berlin has expressed serious concerns about apparent restrictions on Hu and Ai including their freedom to speak to the media.

Human Rights Watch had urged Berlin to place the issue front-and-centre at the talks, saying that Ai's release showed "that political pressure on the Chinese government works."

While Merkel welcomed Wen to her chancellery with military honours, a few dozen demonstrators waved Tibetan flags and shouted "Freedom for Tibet!" in German.

And at the end of the press conference, a German protester held up a golden-coloured, waving cat figure emblazoned with Chinese characters and a club in its paw, which he called a "prize" for Wen.

"For the economy, for billions in deals," he shouted.

Relations between China and Germany hit a low point in September 2007 when Merkel welcomed the Dalai Lama, Tibet's exiled spiritual leader whom Beijing brands a dangerous separatist.

Wen told reporters in London Monday that China would not accept "finger-wagging" over human rights.

No financial details were given on the Airbus deal but press reports in Germany said the framework agreement was worth more than €7 billion ($10 billion).

Other contracts signed included one on an electric car project between German auto giant Volkswagen and its Chinese partner FAW and a factory in Foshan.

VW also signed a deal with Shanghai Automotive Industry Corporation, while Daimler and the Beijing Benz Automotive Company inked an agreement on investment in new products, engines and a research and development centre.

Story continues below…

The ministers also signed a raft of agreements on deepening cooperation in areas including climate protection, energy efficiency, food safety, education and the arts.

The globe's number two economy, China, and number four, Germany, have seen trade volume rise by leaps and bounds in recent years, to hit a record €130 billion ($184 billion) in 2010. Both sides hope to boost the figure to €200 billion annually by 2015.

"We want to encourage (Chinese companies) to invest even more in Germany," Merkel said, adding: "You are welcome."

But amid German firms' concerns about protection of their intellectual property rights and widespread piracy in China, Merkel highlighted the need for "fair and reliable rules of play" between the two countries.


The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

15:48 June 28, 2011 by Jerr-Berlin
...great deal for Germany...you also will have 80 % of your products made in China, stocking the shelves of your favourite retail stores....in exchange, for the huge investment the China is making...(especially to bail out Greece and the others soon)...you're continuiing to sell out your know-how and industrial base to a police state for short-term lower prices and easy credit...good luck in the future eh...will be interesting to see how an historically influential union (Gewerkschaft) oriented industrial country, that's worked so hard to achieve and maintain, a "decent" standard of living after WW2...will do, while paying economic and financial "tribute" to China...
17:29 June 28, 2011 by derExDeutsche
its all starting to make sense ?... the picture is coming into focus ... Forget the Euro, never mind the Mark, its the Yuan. and I'm not talking about a Spaniard.
18:02 June 28, 2011 by Jack Kerouac
Merkel looks like she's shaking hands with the teufel, but China is so large and influencial, it's really difficult to not deal with them. I agree with Jerr-Berlin - Germans are selling technology to a police state for investments to (in part) help bailt out Greece. So...Germaninterests are suffering because Greece is corrupted? Frustrating, isn't it?
18:42 June 28, 2011 by toemag
Well what a shock, as they already own the US they may as well buy the €uro-zone ;-)
19:39 June 28, 2011 by MJMH
If China buys up Europe we let it happen. America had to prove their stand on Globalism was right so now China owns most of the USA's debt. The European leaders have to prove The EU and the euro was right too so soon China will own most of Greece's and Europe's industry and debt.
20:32 June 28, 2011 by DOZ
Hear no evil, see no evil, speak no evil, as long as you make a buck.
01:29 June 29, 2011 by padu
Funny hearing German lecturing human right to a people whom Kaiser Wilhelm, when slaughtering of them, mistaken as Huns.

More funny is the pretext for lecturing is a newly released dissident artist who evaded million dollar tax.

What is the fckin human right and what is the use of it? Monica Lewinsky knows the best.

When she raised her head and wiped her sticky lips with her blue dress and muttered to Clinton ---¦quot;Love is above marriage¦quot;,she gav an inspiring enlightenment to Clinton who was then tormented by how to intervene in Bosnia, a part of Yugoslavia, a sovereign state then.

Yes Human Right Above International Law! So from that mouth, the Oval Office was turned into Oral Office and Human Right became something real funny.

We westerners never know how green-eyes monsters we are and how we hate Chinese, while they did better since they lifted 550 million from poverty while we fought war. We hate to realize the real reason we point fingers is we hate to be treated, instead of superman, as loser.
01:36 June 29, 2011 by TheChanger
Why did this become a US bashing forum? I don't recall seeing much in the article about the US.

Oh well, it seems that everyone has a price for their convictions. At least here in the USA we are talking about the human rights issues of China while we sign the deals. Check out the tapes from the last visit to the White House of China's leadership. Standing side by side Obama blasted them for human rights offenses and abuses, while the national media cameras were rolling.

Is it a front to save face with Americans? Possibly. I doubt it though since the Chinese seem to take very big offence to things like that.

Here's some financial data for you all since you seem to think China owns the USA.

China currently holds approximately 1.15 trilion dollars of US debt. TOTAL foreign ownership of US debt is 4.5 trillion dollars. This means that China holds about 25% of the US debt that is currently held by foreign countries.

The US government still holds over 52% of the total US debt and most of the rest is held by state and local governments, private investers, brokers, pension funds etc.

As listed in the article, China is now the second largest economy int he world. Latest GDP numbers put China at roughly 4.5 trillion dollars whereas the USA still has a listed GDP of roughly 14 trillion dollars.

It is safe to say that the United States, although currently not having a great time economically, is still on top and still has a bright future if some good decisions start being made.
08:09 June 29, 2011 by toemag
@ TheChanger. Sorry, I didn't mean to turn this into a USA bashing thread.

"China currently holds approximately 1.15 trilion dollars of US debt. TOTAL foreign ownership of US debt is 4.5 trillion dollars. This means that China holds about 25% of the US debt that is currently held by foreign countries."

Just how many trillion dollars debt does the USA have so that I can put these figures into perspective?
00:27 July 3, 2011 by Ich
It looks like teh West and China have flip-flopped. "Human Rights', for the industrial, free, democratic West is begining to sound more and more like "Dictatorship of the Proletariat", while China's Communist Government has surely bought the means of production is preparing to exploit the masses of the world.
Today's headlines
Outrage over ruling on 'brutal' gang rape of teen girl
The now convicted suspects, sitting in court in Hamburg. Photo: DPA.

A 14-year-old girl was gang-raped and left partially clothed and unconscious in freezing temperatures. Now prosecutors are appealing the sentences for the young men found guilty, most of whom will not set foot in jail.

Dozens of Turkish diplomats apply for asylum in Germany
Demonstrators holding a giant Turkish flag protest against the attempted coup in Istanbul in July. Photo: DPA.

Since the failed putsch attempt in Turkey in July, Germany has received 35 asylum applications from people with Turkish diplomatic passports, the Interior Ministry confirmed on Wednesday.

Hertha Berlin fan club criticised for 'anti-gay banner'
Hertha BSC beat FC Cologne 2-1. Photo: DPA

A 50 metre fan banner apparently mocking the idea of gay adoption has overshadowed Hertha BSC's win in the Bundesliga.

Germany stalls Chinese takeover of tech firm Aixtron
Aixtron headquarters in Herzogenrath. Photo: DPA

The German government on Monday said it had withdrawn approval for a Chinese firm to acquire Aixtron, a supplier to the semiconductor industry, amid growing unease over Chinese investment in German companies.

Politicians call for tough sentences for 'killer clowns'
File photo: DPA.

Now that the so-called 'killer clown' craze has spread from the US to Germany, elected officials are drawing a hard line against such "pranks", with some threatening offenders with jail time of up to a year.

Nearly one in ten Germans are severely disabled
Photo: DPA

New figures reveal that 9.3 percent of the German population last year were considered severely disabled.

The Local List
Germany's top 10 most surreal sites to visit
The Upside-Down House, in Mecklenburg–Western Pomerania. Photo: Olaf Meister / Wikimedia Commons

From upside-down houses on Baltic islands to a fairy-tale castle near the Austrian border, Germany is a treasure trove of the extraordinary.

Bavarian critics back Merkel for Chancellor again
Photo: DPA

The Christian Social Union (CSU) have long delayed backing Angela Merkel as their candidate for Chancellor in next year's general election. But now key leaders are supporting her publicly.

Four taken to hospital after hotel toilet bursts into flames
File photo: DPA.

Four guests at a Nuremberg hotel were taken to hospital due to smoke inhalation early Monday morning after a toilet there burst into flames.

Creepy clown scare spreads to Germany
Two of the clowns were apparently equipped with chainsaws. Photo: Pedro Pardo / AFP file picture

Police said Friday five incidents involving so-called scary clowns had occurred in two north German towns, including one assailant who hit a man with a baseball bat, amid fears that Halloween could spark a rash of similar attacks.

10 things you never knew about socialist East Germany
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
How Germans fell in love with America's favourite squash
How I ditched London for Berlin and became a published author
12 clever German idioms that'll make you sound like a pro
23 fascinating facts you never knew about Berlin
9 unmissable events to check out in Germany this October
10 things you never knew about German reunification
10 things you're sure to notice after an Oktoberfest visit
Germany's 10 most Instagram-able places
15 pics that prove Germany is absolutely enchanting in autumn
10 German films you have to watch before you die
6 things about Munich that’ll stay with you forever
10 pieces of German slang you'll never learn in class
Ouch! Naked swimmer hospitalized after angler hooks his penis
Six reasons why Berlin is now known as 'the failed city'
15 tell-tale signs you’ll never quite master German
7 American habits that make Germans very, very uncomfortable
Story of a fugitive cow who outwitted police for weeks before capture
Eleven famous Germans with surnames that'll make your sides split
The best ways to get a visa as an American in Germany
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd