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German President Joachim Gauck sets off for China state visit

German President Joachim Gauck has a full agenda for his state visit to China. It is the first visit to China by a German president in nine years, since Horst Kohler was there in May, 2007.

German President Joachim Gauck

is expected to raise a number of uncomfortable issues for the Chinese

- including human rights, the environment and foreign policy - during his talks with President Xi Jinping and Prime Minister Li Keqiang.

Gauck walks past Chinese honor guards upon his arrival in Beijing.

Daniela Schadt with President Joachim Gauck

On civil rights he is expected to hand over a list of dissidents, human rights activists, journalists and

lawyers who are either imprisoned or victims of government harassment.

The president is also due to give a speech to a thousand students at Shanghai's Tongji University on Wednesday. He is expected to point out

China's low position in international press freedom rankings,

and to remark on a new bill for Non-governmental organizations (NGOs) which would substantially limit the work of foundations and other foreign organizations.

Gauck is also due to visit Xi'an City's impressive Terracotta Army as well as the Forbidden City in Beijing.

bik/jm (AP, AFP, DW)

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