China strongly protested a meeting in Berlin on Monday (September 9th) between German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas and Hong Kong pro-democracy activist Joshua Wong.
The German ambassador to Beijing was summoned the next day to the Chinese Foreign Ministry, said Chinese Ambassador to Berlin Ken Wu.
"We express our great disappointment [...] and we protest very strongly against the fact that such an incident occurred," he said Tuesday at a press conference in Berlin.
Ken Wu warned Berlin that "this incident would have a very negative impact on bilateral relations" between the two countries, without giving further details.
The German Foreign Ministry said that the interview took place on Tuesday, and that the German envoy had "again explained the position of the federal government". In a speech to the lower house, Angela Merkel, who had traveled to China last week, also said Wednesday that Germany considered "respectful" of respect for human rights, saying that it was in favor of Hong Kong to the principle of "one country, two systems".
Joshua Wong's message on Twitter after meeting Heiko Mass
In Berlin I spoke to Foreign Minister @HeikoMaas on protests situation and cause to free election and democracy in HK. Anticipating further discussion with members of the German Bundestag in coming days. pic.twitter.com/y8VCUZrE6sJoshua Wong 黃 之 鋒 (@joshuawongcf) September 10, 2019
A figure of the protest movement
Joshua Wong, one of the leading figures in the protest movement, who has been shaking the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region for several months, arrived in Berlin on Monday night, where he was greeted by Heiko Mass. He has met several politicians but not Chancellor Angela Merkel, and must go Friday in the United States.
He had posted on Twitter the picture showing him alongside Heiko Maas, saying he had discussed with him "current protests and (the) struggle for free elections and democracy in Hong Kong".
This photo had triggered the ire of Beijing. On Wednesday, Joshua Wong tried to calm the game, assuring at a press conference that pro-democracy activists in Hong Kong did not have a "separatist" focus on China. "Someone has labeled me a separatist, but we just hope to elect our own government," he said. Thirty years after the fall of the Wall in the German capital, Joshua Wong reiterated that he saw Hong Kong as the "new Berlin".
Hong Kong, a former British colony retroceded to China in 1997, has been shaken since June by a protest movement against the local executive, amid fears of a growing grip of the central government.
This movement officially does not have a leader, but Joshua Wong, Demosisto's general secretary who is campaigning for "self-determination" of the territory, is involved through numerous public positions.
With Reuters and AFP