Press Review: “a Hate-Filled Press Campaign”

Asked to comment on the resignation of Koehler, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Ma Zhaoxu said China hopes to work with Germany to develop a stable and long-term bilateral relationship.  “This is in the interests of the two nations and their people,” he told a regular press conference in Beijing.  Ma said Koehler is an old friend of the Chinese people, who had made important contributions to further mutual understanding and cooperation between China and Germany.

Xinhua, June 1, 2010, on German president Horst Köhler’s resignation one day earlier.

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“As on my previous visits, I raised the issue of exchange rate policy. The IMF has for some time believed that it would be in China’s best interests to move gradually toward a more flexible exchange rate system. Such a move would improve the central bank’s ability to control money and credit growth, and also help cushion China’s economy from domestic and external shocks. The authorities continue to see exchange rate flexibility as a desirable goal as China integrates further into the global economy. However, they feel that the time is not yet right to move in that direction. As regards capital account liberalization, I fully support the authorities’ cautious and deliberate approach.”

Horst Köhler, in his capacity as IMF managing director, September 2003

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The sudden departure of a good man as Germany’s president is profoundly destabilising for Europe. Horst Köhler has resigned following a hate-filled press campaign against him fuelled by headline-pandering German politicians who fail to see that 21st-century Germany is no longer the post-1945 dwarf orphan of world politics. […]

Köhler has resigned with honour and dignity. But those whose loud voices called for his head are now part of the problem and will never contribute to the solution. The anti-politics and anti-politician mood now unleashed in Germany and elsewhere in Europe is ugly and is doing damage to representative democracy.

Denis MacShane, Labour MP and politician, in The Guardian, June 1, 2010

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Horst Köhler’s resignation isn’t only the first one by a federal president with immediate effect, but also one with significant blog participation. […] The issue was first picked up by blogs and identified as a scandal. […] Stefan Graunke’s Unpolitik Blog picks up the Deutschlandfunk report [quoting from Köhler’s interview] […] and asks: “Really, Mr. Köhler? A public call to enforce economic interests by military force?

[Following: a description on how Deutschlandfunk (a nationwide radio broadcaster), Der Spiegel, and christian democrat MP Ruprecht Polenz pick up the interview again and more critically, reportedly after several more blog entries.]

Horst Köhler: Ein Rücktritt unter Blog-Mitwirkung, Carta, May 31, 2010

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Is a civic president allowed to invoke lèse-majesté? Horst Köhler can’t seriously expect that the German public will comprehend his interpretation of his resignation.

Frankfurter Rundschau, quoted by Deutschlandfunk / Tagesschau, June 1, 2010

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