BERLIN: German Chancellor Angela Merkel held talks with human rights activists on the first day of her trip to China, her spokesman said Thursday.
“At the end of the first day of her visit, Chancellor Merkel met members of Chinese civil society: human rights lawyers, writers and bloggers,” her spokesman Steffen Seibert tweeted.
No details were given on the activists she met, but Seibert had said ahead of her trip, “generally speaking, . . . in all our meetings with Chinese officials, human rights, rule of law and democracy issues play a role but I won’t go into specifics here.”
China’s communist authorities have launched a crackdown on elements of the country’s burgeoning civil society, jailing dozens of activists.
During Chinese President Xi Jinping’s visit to Washington late September, his US counterpart Barack Obama strongly criticized Beijing’s human rights record at a joint summit appearance, saying China’s treatment of rights activists was “problematic.”