Germans Vexed Over Visit By China's Premier

By , Staff Writer of The Christian Science Monitor

CHINESE Prime Minister Li Peng mixed business with displeasure during a six-day visit to Germany last week, signing contracts worth about $3.5 billion while shunning human rights protesters.

Mr. Li - who in 1989 ordered tanks into Beijing's Tiananmen Square to crush democracy protests - abruptly canceled four scheduled appearances to avoid demonstrations against China's human rights record. On Thursday, Li, apparently annoyed by protesters, stood up the mayor of Berlin, who was waiting at the Brandenburg Gate. He later complained that he came to Germany to discuss deals, not talk politics.

The Chinese premier departed Germany Saturday for Romania. For some Germans it was a case of good riddance. ``Somebody who moves around in a Western democracy must be able to cope with the conditions of a democracy,'' Social Democratic Party chairman Rudolf Scharping told the Hamburg Morgenpost newspaper.

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Chancellor Helmut Kohl's government expressed mild annoyance at Li's behavior, but left no doubt that it considered expanding trade to be a greater priority than improving China's human rights standards. Germany is heavily dependent on exports.

Among the contracts and letters of intent signed during Li's visit were:

* A deal with Siemens, an electronics and machinery conglomerate, to build three coal-fired power stations.

* A plan to form a joint venture with Deutsche Aerospace, a unit of corporate giant Daimler-Benz, that would specialize in launching communications satellites into orbit.

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