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Merkel urges China to opt for peaceful measures for Hong Kong unrest

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Angela Merkel

Angel Merkel, on her 12th official visit to China as the German Chancellor, made a call for peaceful dialogue between state authorities and Hong Kong pro-democracy propagators. Merkel urged Beijing to opt for peaceful measure in its dealing with Hong Kong unrest. She also advocated that the rights and freedoms of citizens of the former British colony must be guaranteed.

Merkel has been one of the very few leaders to officially touch upon the issue with Chinese officials. During a joint press conference with the Chinese premier, Li Keqiang, Merkel said, “In the current situation, everything must be done to avoid violence…And the solutions can only be found in a political process – meaning through dialogue.”

Merkel’s opinion over the Hong Kong pro-democracy protests was not welcomed by the Chinese premier, who snapped back, saying: “[Please have confidence that] Chinese people have the capability and wisdom to manage well our own affairs.” His remark was a message not only to Germany but all the foreign governments, informing them to not interfere in the city’s internal affairs.

She retouched the issue during her concluding speech as she wrapped her three-day state visit (Thursday to Saturday) to the central city of Wuhan, where she was scheduled to give a speech to university students. Merkel told reporters that she had made efforts to bring up the issue and had “advocated that conflicts be resolved without violence and that anything else would be a catastrophe from my point of view”.

Two days ahead of her trip, Bild published an open letter to German Chancellor on Wednesday, which was later recalled by the prominent Hong Kong democracy activist Joshua Wong and others.

The letter read, “You have firsthand experience of the terrors of a dictatorial government…We hope that you will express your concern about our catastrophic situation and that you will convey our demands to the Chinese government during your stay in China.” The letter also asked Germany to be wary of doing business with China, which was the key agenda behind Merkel’s visits. It said, “Germany should be on its guard before doing business with China, as China does not comply with international law and has repeatedly broken its promises”

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