BERLIN – Activist Joshua Wong said that Hong Kong was “the new Berlin in the new Cold War” and urged the international community to back the pro-democracy movement that has gripped the special-status Chinese territory.
Wong arrived in the German capital on Monday and met with Foreign Minister Heiko Maas for a joint press conference where he denounced the “barbaric level of force” used by the Hong Kong police against protestors.
The 22-year-old activist, who was involved in the 2014 pro-democracy Umbrella Revolution, compared what was happening in Hong Kong with Berlin saying that it was “the new Berlin in the new Cold War,” at a press conference Wednesday.
The secretary-general of Demosisto also asked Germany to suspend its sale of riot police weapons to Hong Kong to avoid them being used with brutal force during protests.
“When you have seen your friend’s died, you’re family injured the removal of the bill is far from enough,” Wong said in reference to the fact that Chief Executive Carrie Lam withdrew a controversial extradition bill which sparked the protests in March.
“I would urge Germany and European countries to condemn those acts by Hong Kong riot police,” he said.
Although the protests initially aimed to denounce the bill, the demands of demonstrators have since expanded and the protest has morphed into a broader movement seeking to reverse a perceived general decline in freedoms and to investigate alleged police brutality and violations of law.
“I just hope people around Europe can pay attention to how Hong Kong people stand in the front line to confront authoritarian suppression,” he said.
Wong was arrested on 30 August accused, alongside Agnes Chow, of taking part in and encouraging others to join an unauthorized assembly during the siege of the Police Headquarters on 21 June.
He added that he hoped the free world would refrain from turning a blind eye to what is happening in Hong Kong urging states to suspend trade negotiations with China.
The activist has not met with Chancellor Angela Merkel but added that he hopes to meet her on another occasion.
At a speech in the Bundestag (Germany’s lower chamber of lawmaking) about Germany’s 2020 budget on Wednesday Merkel expressed her support for multilateralism and boosting trade relations.
Merkel said that China had undergone an economic boom and that as such its responsibility within the world order had also grown.
The chancellor said upholding human rights standards was paramount for Germany and regarding the situation in Hong Kong, Berlin continues to defend the principle of “one country, two systems.”
Wong arrived in Germany for the first stop of a tour that will see him visit the United States next week.