Date
17 November 2017
German Chancellor Angela Merkel addresses students at Tsinghua University as part of her seventh trip to China. Photo: AFP
German Chancellor Angela Merkel addresses students at Tsinghua University as part of her seventh trip to China. Photo: AFP

Merkel raises human rights in speech at Tsinghua University

German Chancellor Angela Merkel raised the issue of human rights publicly when she delivered a speech at Tsinghua University in Beijing on Tuesday during her seventh visit to China.

But those comments went unreported in mainland media.

In carefully worded remarks, the German leader, who grew up in the former East Germany, invoked the fall of the Berlin Wall and told students their country needed “free dialogue”, AFP reported.

“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, according to the official English translation of her German-language speech.

The German chancellor also said sustainable development not only refers to the economy but also a healthy and just judicial system.

“Citizens should believe in the power of the law, not the law of the powerful,” she said. Only a open, diverse society that offers freedom to every citizen can create a successful future, she said.

But mainland media omitted Merkel’s comments on human rights and the judicial system, only emphasizing her comments on the second world war, Ming Pao Daily reported Wednesday.

When asked to comment on Japan’s attitude towards the second world war, Merkel called for a correct understanding of historical issues. “It is important not to let the tragic history be repeated,” she said.

Merkel said that after the war, the German people reconsidered their activities in a process that was “miserable” but the right way to “have a correct understanding of historical issues”.

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