Hong Kong democracy activist and Demosistō co-founder Joshua Wong traveled to Germany yesterday, where he met with Foreign Minister Heiko Maas in Berlin. Wong was among several high-profile activists and lawmakers arrested late last month in a roundup by Hong Kong police as protests in the city continue into their fourth month. Wong was reportedly briefly detained on Sunday at the airport for “breaching bail conditions,” but was released after that was determined to be a mistake. At The Guardian, Kate Connoly reports on Wong’s meeting with the foreign minister and comments to a crowd of politicians and media professionals at a gathering celebrating global rights advocacy hosted by the tabloid Bild:
Speaking to the gathering, Wong pledged to continue to “protest until the day that we have free elections” and compared Hong Kong with communist East Germany during the pro-democracy protests that led to the fall of the Berlin Wall.
“If we are now in a new cold war, Hong Kong is the new Berlin,” Wong told the gathering. “We urge the free world to stand together with us in resisting the autocratic Chinese regime.”[…] Wong told the Berlin gathering he had been arrested eight times and held in detention for 100 days. […] Wong, who is due to address students and the public on Wednesday evening at the Humboldt University in Berlin before travelling to the US, said he planned to hold further talks with political leaders in Germany. There was no meeting scheduled with Merkel, according to her spokesman, Steffen Seibert.
Last week, Wong made headlines in Germany after calling for two panda cubs, born last month to pandas at Berlin zoo who have been rented from the Chinese government, to be named “Democracy” and “Freedom”, in order to “send a very clear signal to China”. A national campaign has called for the cubs to be called “Hong” and “Kong”. [Source]
In Berlin I spoke to Foreign Minister @HeikoMaas on protests situation and our cause to free election and democracy in HK. Anticipating further discussion with members of German Bundestag in coming days. pic.twitter.com/y8VCUZrE6s
Beijing reacted with anger at Germany following Foreign Minister Haas’ meeting with Wong. The South China Morning Post’s Catherine Wong reports:
On Tuesday, [Chinese foreign ministry spokeswoman] Hua [Chunying] said Beijing was “strongly dissatisfied” over Maas meeting Wong, the 22-year-old secretary general of pro-democracy Hong Kong political party Demosisto [noting that Beijing had lodged “stern representations” with Germany]. Wong had travelled to Berlin for the event, hosted by the German newspaper Bild to celebrate human rights activists around the world.[…] “There are certain German media and politicians who seek attention and stage political shows by taking advantage of anti-Chinese separatists,” Hua said. “This is extremely erroneous action which has shown disrespect of China’s sovereignty and interference in China’s internal affairs.
“German Chancellor Angela Merkel has clearly stated her support for ‘one country, two systems’ and her opposition to violence during her visit to China last week. We couldn’t help but wonder, what is the intention of the German side to allow Joshua Wong to visit Germany and to meet Foreign Minister Maas at this point in time?”[…] Hua said the incident would send the wrong signal to “radical separatist forces” in Hong Kong and called for Maas not to engage in actions that would hurt China-Germany relations. [Source]
Last week, German Chancellor Angela Merkel met Premier Li Keqiang in Beijing, where she urged a peaceful solution to the situation in Hong Kong.
Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam last week announced the full withdrawal of the proposed extradition bill that initially ignited protests in June, which many concluded as “too little, too late.”
Wong is next heading to New York:
This Friday, September 13 at 12:00 PM @ColumbiaLaw: Activists @joshuawongcf & @BrianLeungKP discuss the #antiextraditionbillprotest in #HongKong with WEAI’s @bliebm & @profmikedavis. The event is open to Columbia ID holders and will be live streamed. pic.twitter.com/PZnnN49avV
— WEAI (@WEAI_Columbia) September 10, 2019