Germany: Govt. concerned over national security law in Hong Kong

The German government expressed fears over a further erosion of democracy in Hong Kong following the passing of the national security law and the upcoming elections on September 6, according to a spokesperson at the weekly press conference on Friday. «The requirement is that China is a very important partner for us in Europe, and at the same time we can never forget, and the events show that, that China is pursuing a completely different society system, which raises questions about the civil rights and human rights issues in China,» spokesperson Steffen Seibert told the conference. He also added that Chancellor Angela Merkel is currently weighing up the question «whether the principle of a country two systems with this security law is viable.» Deputy spokesperson for German Federal Foreign Office Rainer Breul underlined the importance of having a united stance in the EU towards the national security law to «have the chance to have our word heard.» According to Breul, the EU is looking closely at «how the law is being implemented, how is freedom of expression and the right to demonstrate will be dealt with, and of course [we will] continue to address these issues openly with China.» «There is a stated expectation that Hong Kong citizens can exercise their democratic rights and freedoms there as provided in the Basic Law,» he added. Seibert also commented on German-French relations after the appointing of a new French Prime Minister, and said he was confident the relationship between the two countries would remain strong. During the conference, the Spokesperson for German Federal Ministry of Interior Bjoern Grunewaelder, mentioned that there was one asylum seeker from Hong Kong in 2019 and one in 2020. Grunewaelder commented on the new travel restrictions and the exceptions, and said that «there is provision that there is a travel [permit] for the family tweaks for family members, but for those who are not family members, and according to our assessment, there are no possibilities of interpretations, from our point of view.»

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