Merkel crisis: German Chancellor under fire for response to Hong Kong chaos – ‘Not enough!

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The German Chancellor is facing a backlash from politicians in her own country, with one saying she has simply not done enough to stand up for the people of the island city. Norbert Röttgen, a leading figure in Mrs Merkel’s own party, the Christian Democratic Union, called her out. He said: “What the German Government said about Hong Kong was the absolute minimum, and it just wasn’t enough.”

His comments came after the German foreign ministry warned people to be “particularly careful” about using social media to vent their anger of China’s hard-handed approach to Hong Kong.

The foreign ministry warned that it “can’t be fully excluded” that the new law will be used against German citizens in Hong Kong.

Responding to the latest travel advice, Mr Röttgen said it was encouraging “self-censorship”.

Social Democrat politician Nils Schmid said: “Merkel’s China policy is behind the times.

“She still sticks to this idea of convergence, that as we deepen our economic ties with China, it will become more liberal and western-oriented but that’s just out of date.”

And Reinhard Bütikofer, a Green MEP, added: “For all the benefits that Merkel’s China policy delivered in the past, these days it is behind the curve.”

Beijing drew widespread global condemnation in the lead up to and after the formal passing of the legislation in June.

Giving new powers to China, the law is set to criminalise secession, subversion and collusion with foreign forces.

It will also effectively curtail protests and freedom of speech in the financial hub.

Pro-democracy campaigners had fiercely challenged the law and held protests in the city.

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After the law was formally passed last week, EU nations expressed “grave concerns”, saying it “risks seriously undermining the high degree of autonomy of Hong Kong”.

Last week Mrs Merkel touched on the subject during a press conference.

She emphasised the need to “seek dialogue” with the Chinese.

She stressed the importance of “mutual respect” and a “relationship of trust” between Berlin and Beijing.

The Chancellor claimed that it would be in Europe’s interests to continue to work alongside the Chinese to tackle key global issues.

She said addressing climate change and developing relations with African countries should continue to be shared goals.

She said “both we and China are very actively engaged” on those issues.

Mr Röttgen said Germany should follow the UK’s offer of asylum to residents of Hong Kong.

Former Tory MEP Daniel Hannan has said the arrival of thousands of asylum seekers from the city would “enrich Britain”.

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