Activists protest Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi’s Berlin visit

BERLIN (AFP) – Exiled Hong Kong activist Nathan Law led a protest by several hundred demonstrators, including members of the Chinese Uighur minority, in Berlin on Tuesday (Aug 1) ahead of a visit by Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi.

Speaking outside the Foreign Ministry, Mr Law called for more support from Berlin over a security law imposed by Beijing on Hong Kong in June that radically increases its control over the financial hub and has led to a brutal crackdown on dissent and protests.

Pro-democracy activist Nathan Law holds a rally with other activist groups during China's Foreign Minister Wang Yi's visit in Berlin on Sept 1, 2020.
Pro-democracy activist Nathan Law holds a rally with other activist groups during China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi’s visit in Berlin on Sept 1, 2020.PHOTO: REUTERS

“What we need is action… This should be accomplished by the EU together and Germany should take the lead,” he said.

“Berlin is very quiet when the topic is China. Berlin is very quiet when the topic is Hong Kong,” he added.

Mr Law was joined by supporters waving the blue and white flag of the Uighurs, a minority that suffers from repression and persecution in China’s northwestern region of Xinjiang, according to rights groups and experts.

Mr Law, 27, fled to Britain after Beijing imposed the security law following months of large and often violent protests calling for greater democratic freedoms and police accountability.

The move drew international condemnation, with the US imposing sanctions against Chinese officials, while countries including Canada, Australia, Britain and Germany have suspended extradition agreements with Hong Kong.

The European Union agreed in July to limit exports to Hong Kong of equipment that could be used for surveillance and repression.

Hong Kong is supposedly guaranteed certain freedoms and autonomy in a “One Country, Two Systems” deal agreed ahead of its 1997 handover from Britain.

Mr Wang’s visit to Berlin is the final stop on a tour of five European countries as he seeks to shore up economic and diplomatic relations in light of tensions with the US.

This trip, his first out of China since the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic, also took in the Netherlands, France, Norway and Italy, where where he signed two trade agreements, including one on the supply of gas.

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