German President Talks About Human Rights with Hu Jintao in Beijing
(Clearwisdom.net) On May 24, 2007, the second day of German President Horst Koehler's first visit to China, he had a closed-door dialog with Chinese President Hu Jintao for over one hour. President Koehler brought up the issue of China's unsatisfactory human rights situation during the dialog.
According to a member of the entourage, when meeting with Hu Jintao, Mr. Koehler stressed that every political regime needs its people's trust, and that respect for human rights can strengthen its people's trust in the government. He also recounted that during Hu's visit to Berlin in November 2005, they had already touched upon this topic and made it public at the press conference in Berlin. In the talk, he asked Hu to respect people's basic rights and said that only when people's freedom and creativity are fully protected, can a nation have long term peace and stability. In every meeting with Hu, Mr. Koehler would always mention the lesson that Germany learned in World War II.
How Mr. Koehler would bring up the sensitive issue of human rights at his meeting with the head of the Chinese Communist regime in Beijing was the focal point of German media and the general public. Prior to Koehler's state visit to China, two relevant incidents occurred. One of them was that ten days before Koehler's departure for China, German Federal Parliament overwhelmingly passed a cross-party resolution condemning China's forced labor system. Given that, the Beijing administration especially summoned Germany's Ambassador to China to accuse the German Parliament of interfering with China's internal affairs. However, German Members of Parliament proclaimed that as China is a signatory to the U.N. human rights convention, it was legal for Germany to condemn China's human rights status.
Another incident was that a week prior to Koehler's state visit, a China-EU human rights dialog was hosted by Germany and held in Berlin, in which China Human Watch and China Labour Bulletin were invited by Germany to participate. Since these two non-governmental organizations were regarded by China as "hostile organizations," representatives from the Chinese Communist regime asked the German side not to allow them to enter the venue. After China's unreasonable request was rejected, the Chinese delegation withdrew from the dialog immediately. Afterward, China Human Watch and China Labour Bulletin expressed that as China could not tolerate meeting with the organizations criticizing its human rights status, people doubt the Chinese Communist regime's sincerity of improving its human right situation.
Before Koehler's visit to China, the International Society for Human Rights (IGFM), which is headquartered in Frankfurt, issued a press release to call on Koehler to "especially protest against China's forced labor system." In addition, it also mentioned the deteriorating human right situation in China. In last March, Canadian human rights lawyer David Matas and Canadian former Secretary of State for Asia-Pacific Mr. David Kilgour exposed the Chinese Communist regime's atrocities of harvesting organs from living people to sell for transplantation. The overwhelming majority of the victims were Falun Gong practitioners who either died on the operation table or were killed afterward.
After the talk between Koehler and Hu Jintao, the Die Welt, one of Germany's most well-known daily papers, posted an online commentary saying, "To comment on the human rights status in China is not meaningless." It further added that with economic clouts, China's leadership definitely would not be happy about its Western trading partners' exposure of China's mistakes to their face. It doesn't mean that the Western countries' moral inspiration is so powerful that the leadership in Beijing would feel their consciences condemned. What's critical is that the condemnation may be able to make them notice the conflicts within the ruling regime, that they should be well aware of.