The rights and freedoms of people in Hong Kong “must be guaranteed”, said German Chancellor Angela Merkel after meeting with Chinese Premier Li Keqiang in Beijing, her spokesman said. Ahead of her China visit, pro-democracy protestors in Hong Kong had appealed her to support them when she meets the Chinese leadership in Beijing. Merkel on Friday also met Chinese President Xi Jinping, and the two leaders were scheduled to have dinner together, reports state news agency Xinhua. Merkel is also scheduled to give a speech to university students in Wuhan on Saturday.
In a tweet on Friday, her spokesman Steffen Seibert quoted Merkel as saying, “The rights and freedoms of the people of Hong Kong must be guaranteed. Solutions can only be found in dialogue; do everything possible to prevent violence”.
Kanzlerin #Merkel in #Peking nach dem Gespräch mit Ministerpräsident Li Keqiang: Die Rechte und Freiheiten der Bürger #Hongkong|s müssen gewährleistet werden. Lösungen können nur im Dialog gefunden werden; alles daran setzen, Gewalt zu vermeiden. pic.twitter.com/HE4nWgrkZZ— Steffen Seibert (@RegSprecher) September 6, 2019
Interestingly, Germany has given refuge to many Chinese dissidents, including artist Ai Weiwei. On her last visit to China, Merkel met with the wife of a Chinese human rights lawyer who have been charged with state subversion. This was an extremely rare phenomenon as a dissident and a visiting head of state had met.
This is her 12th visit to China as the German chancellor. To quote state-run Xinhua Merkel’s visit came as “productive cooperation between the world’s two major economies is much needed against the backdrop of global uncertainties”. China accounted for the largest share of imports into Germany in 2018 with goods worth 106.2 billion euros, the agency added.
(With PTI inputs)