Chinese public delighted by Merkel’s election victory

By Shan Jie Source:Global Times Published: 2017/9/25 23:23:39 Last Updated: 2017/9/26 10:47:35

Immigration policy causes concern among Chinese

Chinese people are showing great fondness for German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who just secured her fourth term on Sunday.

Merkel, who after 12 years in power held a double-digit lead for most of the campaign, scored about 33 percent of the vote with her conservative Christian Union (CDU/CSU) bloc, according to preliminary results, AFP reported Monday.

"Merkel is a leader with reasonable sense and great foresight. Her policy toward China has been pragmatic since she took power and she has improved Sino-German relations in all aspects," Zhao Junjie, a research fellow at the Institute of European Studies at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences in Beijing, told the Global Times on Monday.

"With Merkel's leadership over the last 12 years, the development of Sino-German relations has made great progress," Ding Chun, director of the Center for European Studies at Fudan University in Shanghai told the Global Times on Monday.

On big issues such as new energy, climate change and automobile development, China and Germany have been cooperating greatly, Zhao said, adding that "she has visited China six times so far and has been keeping a good personal relationship with Chinese leaders."

In Chinese cyberspace, people dub Merkel "Moke'er Dama," a term of endearment more usually assigned to middle-aged and elderly women.

"Merkel grew up in a socialist country. She looks and plans in a long-term way. The Germans like her and she has expanded prosperity for the country," Yuan Weixiong, an Internet user commented on the popular WeChat social media platform below an article introducing Merkel on Monday.

"She is extraordinary. Among Western leaders, she understands the Chinese theory 'seeking truth from facts' the best. Her practical political theory has balanced benefits and kept economic development stable," noted Jing Wa, another WeChat user.

"Merkel has experienced some significant crises as German leader and her policy toward China has experienced ups and downs, but she has an 'able woman' image," Zhang Yunyi, a Beijing resident told the Global Times on Monday.

Top candidates of the Alternative for Germany (AfD), Alexander Gauland (left) and Alice Weidel, celebrate on stage during an election night event in Berlin following the general election on Sunday. AfD Sunday became the first far-right, openly anti-immigration party to enter parliament since World War II. Photo: AFP

Cloudy victory

However, Merkel's victory was clouded by the historic entry of an openly hard-right anti-immigration party to parliament, exit polls showed. The Alternative for Germany (AfD) party posed a "big new challenge", Merkel said Sunday, AFP reported.

"The far-right entering parliament shows people are dissatisfied with some of her policies," Ding said, noting that "Germany and the whole of Europe have been hit by the immigration crisis, which is the main issue Merkel is facing as German leader."

The media has also been reporting on problems with refugees and linking them to Merkel's softhearted policies, Zhao said.

Many Chinese people also expressed concerns about the immigration crisis.

"It seems she is asking for trouble. Just look how the refugee issue has been affecting Germany," a Zhejiang resident surnamed Liu told the Global Times.

Syrian refugees rejoiced on Sunday at the news that Merkel had secured a fourth term, but said they were alarmed by the rise of the AfD party which they feared could pressure her into tightening asylum rules, Reuters reported.

"We prayed that Merkel would win," said Fatima al-Haidar, a mother of two from Damascus. "Allah answered our prayers. To us she represents wisdom and humanity."

Posted in: DIPLOMACY

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