The Chinese President started his four-day state visit to Germany on November 10th. Hu has been well known for his low profile and the western society knows very little about him. As this was Hu’s first visit to Germany in his presidency, his activities drew widespread attention from the German media.
On the first day when Hu arrived in Berlin, he met the German President. On the same evening, he accepted an invitation from Deutsche Asia-Pacific Group (DAPG) to meet the people of the business community at the Adlon Hotel. The World Journal reported, “In contrast to the press conference held together with the German President, Mr. Kohler, the guest (Hu Jintao) seemed to be much more comfortable facing business celebrities. This does not mean he became voluble under the soft lighting of the grand chandelier. During the endless accounts that detail trade figures, economic growth rate and energy consumption, several members of the Chinese delegation fell asleep. Regardless of this, however, Hu still proved that he is capable of showing expressions on his face. There was a suspicion hovering in people’s mind after seeing Hu’s press conference with Mr. Kohler in the presidential building. At that time, when Mr. Kohler’s forehead wrinkled because of laughter, Hu stayed expressionless. Even when the German President candidly reminded his guest that China should allow more freedom and democracy to its citizens, Hu still remained poker-faced.”
Frankfurt Allgemeine Zeitung commented: “Hu Jintao showed outstanding self-control on public occasions. At times, he appeared to be too stiff. He never expressed his viewpoints and his speech never deviated from the manuscript. When making dialogue with diplomats or politicians, Hu never tried to cultivate an intimate atmosphere. Almost nobody has ever seen his smile.”
In a news commentary programme broadcast by ARD TV on the day of Hu’s arrival in Berlin, it mentioned: “China is a beautiful country with diligent citizens. But does that mean we have to love the Chinese leader? Our answer is ‘No’. Even Hu can put up charming smiles on his face, Berlin’s red rug is actually laid out for a tyrant.”
The TV commentator continued: “Even though the living standards of the Chinese people improve and they start to enjoy freedom, they don’t truly possess any democratic rights. The Chinese communist regime is still a totalitarian country. Whoever dares to challenge the power of the Chinese Communist Party will be sent to a labour camp or a psychiatric hospital. Similarly, under the leadership of Chairman Hu, anyone who opposes the regime will suffer from brutal persecution. This country, the most populous in the world, is still far away from freedom of information, independence of justice or freedom of faith. The petition activities we see throughout Berlin today remind us that China sentences more citizens to the death penalty than any other country in the world.”
The commentator also said, “There are some Berliners saying today that we shouldn’t let Hu Jintao lose face. How ridiculous this statement is! It would be an absurd argument that only feeble, principle-lacking people can obtain rewards from China and the upright people can only receive punishment from China. China also makes business deals with those countries, such as the US, which frequently criticises China for its poor human rights records. Maybe the new German government can come to a realisation that German foreign policy is not just signing trading contracts.”
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