Chinese envoy denounces o pro-democracy Hong Kong activist Joshua Wong

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  • Calls German lawmakers’ September meeting with Wong ‘a direct provocation’ of Beijing’s ire
  • Says the encounter ‘has severely disrupted’ Chinese-German relations

China’s ambassador to Germany has lashed out at German politicians for expressing support for Hong Kong protesters, calling a September meeting in Berlin between German lawmakers and Hong Kong activist Joshua Wong “a direct provocation” of Beijing’s ire.

“It is a shame that Germany allowed a Hong Kong separatist to visit and meet with political leaders, including the foreign minister himself,” Wu Ken said in a speech at the La Redoute Club in Bonn, Germany, on Monday. The encounter “has severely disrupted” the European country’s relations with China, Wu said.

The remarks came as China stepped up its criticism of the US, Britain and other countries over their “meddling” in China’s internal affairs.

Western countries and organisations including the European Council have called for restraint as some of the most intense clashes of the nearly six-month old protest movement in Hong Kong have occurred at Hong Kong Polytechnic University.

Hong Kong activist Joshua Wong meets German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas in Berlin on September 9 at a gathering of prominent figures in politics, business, sports, art and culture held by German newspaper Bild. Photo: EPA-EFE

Hong Kong activist Joshua Wong meets German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas in Berlin on September 9 at a gathering of prominent figures in politics, business, sports, art and culture held by German newspaper Bild. Photo: EPA-EFE

China’s ambassador to Germany has lashed out at German politicians for expressing support for Hong Kong protesters, calling a September meeting in Berlin between German lawmakers and Hong Kong activist Joshua Wong “a direct provocation” of Beijing’s ire.

“It is a shame that Germany allowed a Hong Kong separatist to visit and meet with political leaders, including the foreign minister himself,” Wu Ken said in a speech at the La Redoute Club in Bonn, Germany, on Monday. The encounter “has severely disrupted” the European country’s relations with China, Wu said.

The remarks came as China stepped up its criticism of the US, Britain and other countries over their “meddling” in China’s internal affairs.

Western countries and organisations including the European Council have called for restraint as some of the most intense clashes of the nearly six-month old protest movement in Hong Kong have occurred at Hong Kong Polytechnic University.

In his speech, Wu questioned why Germans were interested in Hong Kong, noting that Britain had controlled the city until it reverted to Chinese control in 1997 and arguing that the US was using Hong Kong as a bargaining chip in its trade war talks with China.

“Contrary to what is expected, some German politicians have spoken out in support of Hong Kong,” he said. “What do they know about Hong Kong?”

The ambassador accused German politicians of adhering to a “double standard” by criticising Hong Kong’s embattled police for using excessive force against rioters while looking away from Europe’s own aggressive law enforcement practices.

“Why don’t they criticise the French police, who have used equal if not more brutal tactics during the Yellow Vest movement?” the ambassador said.

French police had fired tear gas at protesters who wore yellow reflective vests during demonstrations against high taxes, stagnant wages and a wage gap that began in the country in October 2018.

The German Foreign Office did not respond to a request for comment.

Wu first criticised Germany over Hong Kong in September, calling’s Wong’s meeting with German foreign minister Heiko Maas at the time “an act of disrespect”.

The 22-year-old Hong Kong activist also addressed the German Parliament at Berlin’s invitation. Speaking at Humboldt University, he remarked that “if we are in a new cold war, Hong Kong is the new Berlin”.

It is unclear why the Chinese ambassador brought up Wong’s trip to Germany again, but the action may have been related to the results of Hong Kong’s district council elections this past weekend, according to Mareike Ohlberg, an analyst with the Berlin-based Mercator Institute for China Studies.

“The most likely answer is that he was asked or felt the need to do so following the defeat of the pro-establishment camp in the Hong Kong District Council elections,” Ohlberg said.

“As the central government tries to regain control of the situation, it wants to limit other countries from engaging with Hong Kong activists.”

Wong last week urged Germany to halt its practice of providing training to China’s People’s Liberation Army, after Chinese soldiers left their barracks in Hong Kong to help clear roadblocks and debris left by protesters.

The German military plans to train 11 Chinese soldiers in 2020, according to German newspaper Bild.

After his trips to Germany and the US, a Hong Kong court last week banned Wong from travelling to London. Facing a charge of inciting anti-government protesters to besiege the Hong Kong police headquarters, he is considered a potential absconder, the court said.

Chinese ambassadors have become increasingly vocal in criticising Western countries over their support of the Hong Kong protesters.

Earlier this month, Liu Xiaoming, the Chinese ambassador to Britain, questioned the relevance today of the Sino-Joint Declaration, which provided for Hong Kong’s return to China, saying “the UK has no sovereignty, jurisdiction or right of supervision over Hong Kong”.

Beijing and Berlin have got into diplomatic rows over Hong Kong and human rights issues in recent months.

In June, Germany granted asylum to two Hong Kong activists who were expected to go on trial for their alleged involvement in the 2016 Mong Kok riots.