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Germany says it will talk trade as well as human rights with China's Wen Jiabao

China is a key trading and investment partner, especially given the European debt crisis. But German officials say they will address human rights during Premier Wen Jiabao's visit.

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Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao attends a joint news conference with Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban (not pictured) in Budapest on June 25, 2011. Wen is on a June 24-28 visit to Hungary, Britain and Germany, seeking to safeguard China's vast holdings of euro-denominated assets as Greece teeters on the brink of default and preserve trade growth with its largest trading partner.

Laszlo Balogh/Reuters

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China’s Premier Wen Jiabao will meet German Chancellor Angela Merkel for dinner Monday night as part of his three-stop European tour, and he is likely to get a warm welcome.

China is one of Germany’s most important trading partners. It is also a powerful investor that could help some of Europe’s debt-stricken economies. And just before the start of the tour, China released the dissidents Ai Weiwei and Hu Jia, a move that is being interpreted in Berlin as a sign of goodwill on Beijing’s part.

“The Chinese have shown in the past that they have good timing for symbolic gestures,” says Eberhard Sandschneider of the German Institute for Foreign Affairs. “But let’s not forget that the charges against Ai Weiwei have not been dropped yet.”

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