The Chinese Foreign Ministry has formally appealed against a meeting of Federal Foreign Minister Heiko Maas in Berlin with Hong Kong democracy activist Joshua Wong. This was announced by Hua Chunying, a ministry spokeswoman in Beijing.
The government of China condemned the encounter as an "act of disrespect". Wong has been in Berlin since Monday evening. The Chinese side expressed "strong dissatisfaction" over Germany's decision "to allow Hong Kong separatists to enter and engage in activities against China."
The SPD politician had met the activist at an event in the Bundestag building Maas and had been photographed together with him.
For the past three months, millions of Hong Kong residents have been demonstrating that their civil liberties, which are larger than Mainland China, have been curtailed. There were repeated violent clashes between protesters and police and more than 1100 arrests.
Wong was first arrested at Hong Kong airport on Sunday morning before his scheduled departure. He was accused of violating his bail conditions. After 24 hours, he was released and flew to Germany immediately.
The civil rights activist had declared in Berlin that the former British crown colony was now a bulwark between the free world and the "dictatorship of China". He drew parallels between the peaceful reunification movement in Germany and the struggle for freedom in Hong Kong. "If we are in a new Cold War, then Hong Kong is the new Berlin."
FDP calls Merkel meeting with Wong
The FDP in the Bundestag called on Chancellor Angela Merkel (CDU) for a prompt meeting with Wong. "This opportunity must not leave the Chancellor unused." She still has to seek direct exchange today and receive Wong at the Chancellery, "said human rights spokeswoman Gyde Jensen of the German Press Agency in Berlin. Merkel should find clear words on the situation in Hong Kong, which she missed on her trip to China.
"The Chancellor and Germany should no longer be allowed to witness the dramatic struggle of activists in Hong Kong for fundamental freedom rights," said Jensen, who is also chair of the Bundestag Human Rights Committee. With a meeting, the Chancellor would send a clear signal and make it clear that Germany clearly stands for human rights and democracy.