• Thu
  • Dec 18, 2014
  • Updated: 12:51pm

Beijing denies Xi planned to visit Holocaust Memorial during trip to Europe

Ambassador to Berlin denies Beijing sought controversial tour, but said he had discussed with Germans how they handled wartime past

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 06 March, 2014, 3:46pm
UPDATED : Friday, 07 March, 2014, 5:20pm

China's ambassador to Germany has denied that Beijing proposed a visit by President Xi Jinping to a second world war memorial in Berlin during his tour of Europe later this month.

Reuters had reported, citing unnamed diplomatic sources, that Beijing proposed having Xi visit the Holocaust memorial in the German capital to highlight the nation's atonement for its wartime past. The aim was to contrast Germany's record with Japan's, the report said.

Ambassador Shi Mingde told reporters on the sidelines of a Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference meeting yesterday in Beijing the government had never discussed with Germany Xi visiting the Holocaust memorial. The president's itinerary was still being finalised, he said.

We agreed on how the Germans face their history
Shi Mingde

"We have never raised such an idea," Shi said. "Such reports are not in line with the facts."

Shi said Xi and German leaders would discuss "international and regional issues of mutual concern", without giving specific details.

The Reuters report said Germany rejected the idea of a visit to the memorial because it did not want to be dragged into a dispute between China and Japan.

Beijing's already tense relations with Tokyo have increasingly worsened since December, when Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe visited the Yasukuni Shrine dedicated to Japan's war dead, including top war criminals.

Beijing denounced the visit, saying Abe was pushing Japan towards militarism and it has called on Japan to learn from Germany, which has frequently apologised for the suffering of the Holocaust and its wartime aggression.

Japanese politicians have apologised for Japan's record during the second world war, but Beijing says the shrine visits cast doubts on the sincerity of the Japanese government.

Shi said he had discussed with German officials how Berlin and Tokyo handled their wartime past and they had shown understanding of China's position.

"We agreed on how the Germans face their history, which is the basis for their reconciliation with other nations, such as France," he said. "The Germans understand us and have never said they don't want to discuss historical issues with us."

Xi will also visit France, the Netherlands and Brussels later this month. Shi said Xi would discuss China's reforms, the country's stance on major international issues and develop closer ties with Europe during his trip.


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This article is now closed to comments

China needs to seriously improve its propaganda department.
For weeks, the Western media reported China wanted to visit the Holocaust memorial.
Now, China said they never raised this issue with Germany.
Who's lying? Who's incompetent?
When will the People's Republic of China seriously study its own history of the last six decades and own up to the economic mistakes, human tragedies and millions of deaths?
The study of Germany's war past is a joint effort (mainly with France, the USSR/Russia, and Israel). But acknowledging past failures also includes better policies in the present to ensure political stability and peace in the future. Germany has established a democratic political system, a rule-of-law based legal system, and cooperates with all its neighbours in the EU contexts. This is not a one-sided effort, but any success in this respect is essentially based on the preparedness and willingness in those countries who had suffered from the Nazi regime to engage in a process of reconciliation. Despite frequent conflicts over EU policy issues, most Germans are deeply grateful for the opportunity given by their European neighbors that helped them to come to terms with their own history.
Japan faces a very different environment.
Good point.
The question here is whether China denies it now to save face after being rejected, or the rumor was started by some other country trying to stir up trouble. Not denying it right after the news came out sounds fishy to me also.
Will the "unnamed diplomatic" who contacted Reuters please stand up?


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