09/02/2020, 10.12
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Hong Kong, Taiwan and Xinjiang: Germany's tough attack on Beijing

The German foreign minister has asked his Chinese counterpart to withdraw the security law for the former British colony. Maas: Enough with China's threats to European leaders; allow access for international observers to Xinjiang. Wang Yi on the defensive.

Berlin (AsiaNews / Agencies) - China must withdraw its security law for Hong Kong and stop threatening European leaders, stated German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas yesterday during a joint press conference with his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi, in a frontal attack on Beijing.

Thus the European tour of the Chinese envoy, designed to restore relations between his country and the Old Continent amid a geopolitical tug of war between China and the US, has ended in the worst possible way. Germany was the last stop: Wang had previously visited Italy, the Netherlands, Norway and France. Aside from the Scandinavian country, everyone else had voiced criticism of China: the Dutch government as harshly as Berlin; the Italian one in a much weaker form.

Maas rejected Wang's assurances that Hong Kong’s security law would not threaten the traditional freedoms of its citizens. The senior German diplomat asked that the "one country, two systems" principle, at the basis of the special autonomy of the former British colony, be applied as fully as possible, and that free and fair elections be held as soon as possible for the renewal of the Legco (the city's Parliament). The vote had been postponed under the pretext of the coronavirus emergency.

Maas then strongly condemned Wang's "threats" against the President of the Czech Senate Miloš Vystrčil, who is currently visiting Taiwan. On August 31, at the end of a meeting in Paris with his French counterpart, the Chinese representative said that the Czech politician would "pay dearly" for his trip to the island, seen by Beijing as a violation of the principle "of the One China". Wang's words against Vystrčil infuriated Berlin, which called on European leaders and the EU to support the Czech Republic.

Faced with Maas’s attacks, which included a request to allow international observers to enter Xinjiang, where Chinese authorities are accused of imprisoning hundreds of thousands of Uyghurs in internment camps, the Chinese envoy remained on the defensive. He repeated that the new security provision serves to "slow down" the independence movements in Hong Kong, and that the president of the Czech Senate has "crossed a red line", recognizing Taiwan as an independent state (for Beijing it is a province "rebel"). Positions that risk exacerbating the conflicts between Europe and China, jeopardizing the signing of a major investment agreement between the two parties by the end of the year.

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