Lower Saxonians Abroad: It’s Hard to Go to Prison in China

Lower Saxonian minister of justice Bernd Busemann cancelled a trip to China this week. A speaker for the ministry said on Friday that the Chinese side had played hard to get (sich zieren) about some items. Busemann and his delegation had discussed a visit to a prision in Hefei, Anhui Province, with their Chinese interlocutors. Organizational, not political issues, had led to the cancellation of the trip, which had been scheduled for August 18 to 25.

Anhui and Lower Saxony are partner provinces/states which had its beginnings in 1984, initially in the fields of agricultural and academic cooperation. It hibernated after the Tain An Men massacre in 1989, but was revived in 1995, according to Lower Saxony’s official website.

In April, according to a press release by Lower Saxony’s parliament, the Landtag, a twelve-member delegation of parliamentarians travelled to Anhui, on invitation of the provincial CCP party committee secretary Zhang Baoshun (张宝顺), in his additional function as chairman of Shanxi Anhui‘s provincial People’s Congress. The Lower Saxonian press release only states Zhang’s role in the province’s “People’s Congress”.

According to the hosts’ drafted itinerary, the visit would include talks with “leading parliamentarians”, chaired by Zhang Baoshun. Also, a number of companies with German investment or foreign-owned enterprises were on the agenda, as well as Hefei University and vocational schools.

A delegation of politicians from Anhui had visited Lower Saxony in April 2010.

As for justice minister Busemann’s planned stay in a prison in Anhui, JR recently tried to crack a joke, that ambassadors abroad might soon visit a Chinese labor camp. Somehow, reality has once again been faster.

Or would have been – if the Chinese side hadn’t found the idea more embarrassing than the Lower Saxonians.

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Related

» Open House, May 25, 2012

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