Beijing (AP) - A meeting of Foreign Minister Heiko Maas with Joshua Wong in Berlin was enough to drop the long-praised German-Chinese relations to a low point. The 22-year-old activist is the face of the democracy movement in Hong Kong.
The day after his meeting with Maas in early September on the sidelines of an event in the Bundestag's roof garden restaurant, Wong told the federal press conference, "We protest until we have free elections someday." Now, if we're in a new Cold War Hong Kong is the new Berlin. "
He is a powerful spokesman for the protest movement in the Chinese Special Administrative Region. As a 13-year-old student, Wong campaigned against plans for patriotic education at Hong Kong's schools. One hundred thousand followed his call. The government had to give up the project. In 2014, Wong became internationally known as leader of the "umbrella movement" for more democracy. Wong has been arrested three times for his political involvement.
While the young protest leader in September in Berlin still journalists questions about the violence of the demonstrators, Wong defended in an interview of the "Süddeutsche Zeitung" now also violent means: "With purely peaceful protest, we will not reach our goal," Wong said. "By force, of course not, we need both." He himself wants to be only the "voice of the demonstrators" today.
He is co-founder of the Demosisto party. As a candidate for the - at least so far - planned for Sunday election of district councils Wong was not admitted, because he is alleged to secretly want the independence of Hong Kong. Wong dismissed the accusation in a 2017 interview with the German Press Agency as a smear campaign: "I'm not one of those who stand for independence, but we must protect freedom of expression, so that a discussion about it must be allowed."
After the escalation of the past few days, Wong appealed to the Germans and all Europeans to increase political pressure via the "Bild" newspaper: "It is no longer enough to condemn this brutal action, which takes place live in front of our eyes." The EU countries should impose sanctions. As the experts say, Wong has a message of its own: "Germany should rethink its economic arrangements with a reckless regime that never abides by the rules."