Hong Kong: Angela Merkel says China must ‘guarantee’ rights and freedoms

‘In the current situation, everything must be done to avoid violence,’ German chancellor says in Beijing

The Guardian
Date: Fri 6 Sep 2019
By: Agence France-Presse

 Angela Merkel says she discussed civil rights in Hong Kong with China’s leaders. Photograph: Andrea Verdelli/Getty Images

The German chancellor, Angela Merkel, has said the rights and freedoms of people in Hong Kong “must be guaranteed” after meeting with the Chinese premier, Li Keqiang, in Beijing.

Hong Kong has faced months of pro-democracy protests, and ahead of Merkels three-day visit to China this week demonstrators in the semi-autonomous city appealed to the German chancellor to support them in her meetings with China’s leaders.

Merkel said she had discussed tensions in the former British colony, and civil rights there, with her hosts and had “pointed out that these rights and freedoms must of course be guaranteed”.

Hong and Kong? Berlin's panda cubs at centre of Chinese human rights row

“In the current situation, everything must be done to avoid violence,” Merkel said at a joint press conference with Li.

“And the solutions can only be found in a political process – meaning through dialogue.”

Merkel arrived in China on Thursday with a large business delegation in tow. The companies travelling with Merkel include Volkswagen, Allianz and Deutsche Bank, according to the German daily Bild, which carried a headline Friday that read: “Do our companies not care about Hong Kong’s freedom?”

Press access to her visit was unusually tight, with a number of members of the Beijing foreign press corps, including AFP, unable to get accreditation for the event.    [FULL  STORY]