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China Premier supports “appeal for change” in MidEast

China Premier supports “appeal for change” in MidEast

China's premier gave his government's most forthright endorsement yet to the changes sweeping the Arab world, in an unusual expression of support during a meeting with the head of an association of Muslim states.

January 16, 2012 12:51 by

Wen Jiabao said China “calls for an end to violence against civilians, supports the appeal for change by the people of the countries concerned, and hopes and believes the governments and peoples of the region have the ability to solve their own problems,” according to the state-run Xinhua news agency.

Wen discussed North Africa and West Asia in a meeting in Riyadh with Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu, secretary general of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation, Xinhua said.

He was in Saudi Arabia as part of a trip undertaken as the US tries to rally support for tightening economic sanctions against Iran.

Wen’s comments came at a time of deepening crisis in Syria, although Xinhua did not name any specific countries. China is normally careful to avoid the appearance of interfering in other countries’ domestic politics.

The OIC, the world’s largest Islamic body, has said it opposed the internationalisation of the Syrian crisis. Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has met a 10-month-old uprising against him with a violent crackdown.

Arab League ministers will meet next week to assess whether Assad has implemented a plan to end bloodshed in Syria. Earlier on Sunday, Assad issued a general amnesty for “crimes” committed during the revolt.

China has viewed the popular uprisings that swept Arab world in 2011 with considerable trepidation. Security forces acted swiftly last spring to detain dissidents, sentencing some to labour camps, to nip in the bud any chance of popular protests spreading to China. (Reporting By Lucy Hornby,; Editing by Rosalind Russell) *Image from

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