Nearly 40 Chinese and German parliamentarians, government officials and scholars met here on Tuesday for the opening of an annual human rights symposium.
As a key part of the dialogue and cooperation between China andGermany in the human rights area, the two-day symposium, the sixth of its kind since 1999, highlighted the topic of "Human Rights and Civic Society".
A nine-member Chinese delegation headed by Liu Jingqin, former vice minister of the International Department of the Central Committee of the ruling Communist Party of China attended the meeting, while on the German side, there were three federal parliament members, including former federal minister of justice Herta Daeubler Gmelin.
Initiated and co-hosted by three non-governmental organizations,the Sino-German Human Rights Symposium became a government-backed project after China and Germany inked an agreement in 2001 on exchange and cooperation in the legal field.
"The German-Chinese human rights dialogue is very, very important to Germany. What we want is not just economic relations with China, such as selling many Volkswagen cars on the Chinese market, but friendly ties with China in a broader sense," Josef Brink, head of the international relations division of the German Federal Ministry of Justice, said during Tuesday's discussions.
Brink said German Foreign Office and China's Foreign Ministry had just held a high-level human rights dialogue in late May.
Berlin and Beijing have also been holding a "rule of law dialogue" regularly in recent years, which often involves human rights topics, he said.
"We attach great importance to the dialogue, through which the two countries can better understand each other, build a relationship of mutual trust and also learn from each other," said Brink.
He said it's the common aspiration of both China and Germany tofurther develop such dialogue.
China has repeatedly said that it supports dialogue but strongly opposes confrontation in the human rights field.
Last year, China engaged in human rights dialogues, consultations and exchanges with a dozen countries including Australia, Austria, Belgium, Britain, Canada, Germany, the Netherlands, Norway and Switzerland.
But when the United States made a failed attempt to have an anti-China motion adopted by the United Nations Human Rights Commission in Geneva early this year, China furiously criticized the US move as "using human rights as a pretext to create confrontation" and suspended its human rights dialogue with Washington.
Though cautiously refraining from making any comment on what Washington did to China, German officials here in the symposium didn't conceal their preference for dialogue.
A German attendant said in the meeting that Germany would like to achieve some kind of exchange and "reach some kind of consensusby means of dialogue, not only in the human rights area, but also in many other fields."
"And the most important thing in a dialogue is equality and mutual respect," added the German official, echoing the Chinese position. Enditem