German minister raises Liu issue with Chinese officials
Germany's economy minister said Tuesday he would continue to promote human rights in China but not in a "ostentatious" way after raising the case of Nobel laureate Liu Xiaobo with Chinese officials.
"I clearly said that the German government praised" the awarding of the prize to the dissident, who was jailed in December 2009 for 11 years on subversion charges, Rainer Bruederle said after talks with Chinese officials.
Bruederle, who arrived Monday in Beijing for a two-day visit to China, met with Commerce Minister Chen Deming and Zhang Ping, the head of the country's top economic planning agency, the National Development and Reform Commission.
The Chinese officials "did not share the belief that I expressed," the German minister said.
Beijing has lashed out at Friday's award of the Nobel Peaze Prize to Liu, saying it violated the principles of the prize itself, was disrespectful to the Chinese judicial system, and would harm Sino-Norwegian relations.
Liu, 54, was jailed after co-authoring Charter 08, a bold manifesto calling for political reform in Communist-ruled China. The petition has since been widely circulated on the Internet and signed by thousands of people.
Germany was among several Western governments that called for Liu's immediate release after he was named the winner of the peace prize.
"I am in principle in favour of Germany promoting human rights... but it's not by making proclamations in an ostentatious way that we'll be most successful," Bruederle said.
The minister noted that differences of opinion on the Liu issue would have no bearing on trade ties between Germany and the world's second-largest economy.
Bruederle was to visit the World Expo in Shanghai on Wednesday, and then head to Japan.
© 2010 AFP