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China correspondents ask Merkel for help

The Local · 26 Aug 2012, 11:34

Published: 26 Aug 2012 11:34 GMT+02:00

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Merkel will hold talks with Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao during a two-day visit which begins on Thursday - her second trip to Beijing this year.

The journalists have written a letter to the German chancellor calling on her to discuss their "deteriorating situation".

They complained Chinese authorities had been "willfully obstructing" their work by threatening to not renew working visas, intimidating Chinese assistants and pressuring interviewees into not talking to them.

“Long-term German correspondents who have been working in Beijing since the 1990s have been observing a deterioration of the situation, even in comparison to the conditions then," said the letter, which is signed by 26 correspondents.

"Dear Chancellor Merkel, in the interest of good and fair reporting about China, we think it is necessary to discuss these issues at the highest governmental level.

"We just request the same working conditions that Chinese journalists enjoy... in Germany."

China is ranked 174th out of 179 countries in the 2011-2012 World Press Freedom Index compiled by press freedom group Reporters Without Borders.

Merkel will co-chair "Chinese-German intergovernmental consultations" with Wen, the foreign ministry in Beijing confirmed last week.

Story continues below…

Germany has come under intense pressure to do more to put an end to the eurozone crisis, which is seen as a threat to the global economy and has hit China's vast manufacturing industry.


The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

13:38 August 26, 2012 by smart2012
If china is so bad, and journalists do not feel free, why the hell are we making everyday business with these people? Silly hypocrisy.

I was in china for business and I love it, actually I would love to go and work there. I would enjoy a much better life than in super expensive Munich. And I

am planning to make my kids learning Chinese.
15:45 August 26, 2012 by Steve1949
They all know the situation there. Yes, it isn't the best but if you can't live with it leave. I also love China and also have an apartment in Jiangsu province. I agree with the above poster. Not only is Munich expensive but also Frankfurt. I only pay 1700 Euro's a year for 100qm fully furnished apartment with balcony. I'd like to see you find something like that anywhere here in Germany. Some garages cost that much here.
15:54 August 26, 2012 by Shirazz
For a second I thought China was asking Merkel to help fix the bridge.
15:58 August 26, 2012 by smart2012
Steve1949, find me a job in china ;)
15:59 August 26, 2012 by grazhdanin
I was wondering why the crisis was not mentioned in this article, until I read the last paragraph
17:20 August 26, 2012 by wood artist

The problem is simple, at least if you look at it from the perspective of the Chinese leadership. They run the show. They have immense power. They also have real problems. The country is trying to survive...literally...but there are too many people, too few opportunities, and a global economy. They have grossly inflated their economy through exporting, and spent way too much money building new things to appear successful.

With the global downturn, they can't maintain that, and their ultimate fear is that their people will revolt. In short, they fear losing their own power. So...step one is to control the people, and that means controlling what the people know. In the old days that was pretty simple, but now, with the internet, it's almost impossible. The last thing they want is a free press, pointing out all their mistakes and screw-ups. So...they censor the press. They pretend that massive train crashes aren't a big thing. They hide riots and disasters.

Why do we all still do business with them? Because their stuff is still cheap, and since they control their currency, it tends to remain cheap. The moment they float their currency, their whole economy will collapse...which, again, is all about "control" and power.

17:33 August 26, 2012 by smart2012
Wood artist, all what u r saying, even if correct, still is not justifying why then we keep doing business with them. Justification is that we do not care how they do things, we just care that they are a one billion people potential market for struggling European economies (and America too).. All the rest is bla. And btw, in Germany there is a newspaper which is also not telling the truth to people, and this is the most red news paper in Germany. I am sure u know which one I mean.. Is this freedom????
19:29 August 26, 2012 by realist1961
I hear that Guantanamo Bay is also quite nice... as long as you are not one of the prisoners. It's all a matter of perspective, and for foreign business, I'm sure China can put on a good face. For the locals, maybe not so much.
19:42 August 26, 2012 by matchstickmann

so r u planning to rent your apartment as a holiday apartment when u r in Deutschland? :D
22:56 August 26, 2012 by zeddriver

Sure. If I go to China on German wages its really cheap. But that same apartment is more than likely to expensive for the average Chinese person earning Chinese factory wages. Apples and Oranges.
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