Berlin – German Chancellor Angela Merkel has said that Hong Kong’s rights and rule of law must be respected as she urged both sides to avoid escalation and pursue dialogue after weeks of anti-government protests and police clashes.
Merkel said this on Wednesday after a meeting in Berlin with Lithuanian President Gitanas Nauseda.
“Everything must be done to avoid violence and to find options for a solution through dialogue,” Merkel added.
She said that the German government was working to encourage dialogue, “but on the basis of the laws in force in Hong Kong” that would ensure freedom of opinion and the rule of law.
She added that the rights of the citizens of Hong Kong, which were guaranteed on the return of the former British colony to China in 1997, should not be put in doubt.
Hong Kong is part of China but governed under the principle of “one country, two systems” in terms of the handover agreement.
China on Wednesday sharply escalated its rhetoric against the protests, fuelling some fears that a military intervention could be used to quell weeks of unrest in the semi-autonomous Chinese territory.
Beijing’s liaison office to Hong Kong called the actions of protesters “no different from the atrocities of terrorists” after an undercover police officer and reporter from a Chinese state news outlet were allegedly assaulted by some demonstrators Tuesday night.
A German government spokesperson earlier Wednesday said Berlin was monitoring the situation in Hong Kong with “rising concern”.