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Seeking support, HK's Joshua Wong meets German foreign minister

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Hong Kong activist Joshua Wong met Germany's foreign minister during a visit to Berlin as he carries abroad his call to support the growing pro-democracy movement in the former British colony.

[BERLIN] Hong Kong activist Joshua Wong has met Germany's foreign minister during a visit to Berlin as he carries abroad his call to support the growing pro-democracy movement in the former British colony.

Posting a photo of himself and Foreign Minister Heiko Maas on his Twitter account, the 22-year-old said they spoke on the "protest situation and our cause to free election and democracy in HK".

The activist planned to hold talks with other German politicians during his visit to Berlin.

But there are no plans for Chancellor Angela Merkel to meet him, said her spokesman Steffen Seibert on Monday.

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Mr Wong arrived late Monday after he was briefly detained in Hong Kong just before his departure to Germany following an error in his bail conditions from a previous detention.

He was among several prominent democracy advocates held late last month in a roundup by police as the semi-autonomous city reels from more than three months of unprecedented pro-democracy protests.

Bild daily reported that Mr Wong turned up late at an event organised by the daily, but was able to meet Mr  Maas at the gathering.

Beijing reacted angrily to their meeting during an event organised by Bild daily, saying "it is extremely wrong for German media and politicians to attempt to tap into the anti-China separatist wave".

"It is disrespectful of China's sovereignty and an interference in China's internal affairs," said Chinese foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying.

"I want to stress once again that Hong Kong affairs are purely China's internal affairs. No foreign government, organisation or individual has the right to intervene," Ms Hua said, adding that Beijing "strongly disapproves" of the meeting.

But Mr Wong shrugged off Beijing's remarks, calling them "baffling".

"This tactic won't make China look powerful," he wrote on Twitter.

In a brief speech at the event, Mr Wong vowed to "protest until the day that we have free elections".

"If we are now in a new Cold War, Hong Kong is the new Berlin," he said, referring to the post-war split between communist East Berlin and the democratic West.

"'Stand with Hong Kong' is much more than just a mere slogan, we urge the free world to stand together with us in resisting the autocratic Chinese regime," he added.

Mr Wong was due to hold a public discussion on Wednesday evening at Humboldt University in Berlin and later travel to the United States.

Mr Wong launched his career as an activist when he was just 12 years old and later became the poster child of the huge pro-democracy "Umbrella Movement" protests of 2014 that failed to win any concessions from Beijing.

He has previously been jailed for involvement in those protests.

 

AFP