GERMANY: Heiko Maas, German Foreign Minister embarrasses Germany by soft-pedaling on Hongkong & Joshua Wong
German Foreign Minister’s Humiliating Supplication to Beijing Endangers Pro-Democracy Activist
- Maas had last year a photo-op with Joshua Wong in Berlin – meeting drew massive anger from China
- Says now: Democracy activist Joshua Wong has strong separatist tendencies – downplays significance of meeting – Maischberger disagrees
- Says: No sanctions against China for Hongkong clampdown from Germany – Country too small to challenge Beijing on new security law – could torpedo future dialogue with Beijing
From minute 9:30 (Foreign Minister Heiko Maas with Maischberger, 03.06.2020)
COMMENTARY by Dr. Aaron Rhodes°
China is the world’s greatest threat to religious freedom and other basic human rights. Free and democratic states and their citizens need to do what they can to help China’s Communist-Party run government stop persecuting people for their religious beliefs and political opinions.
With China as a primary market and supplier for the West, this will require moral discipline and a willingness to sacrifice. Leading nations must step up, among them Germany. But rather than doing so, the Germany government has become an enabler of China, and thus of China’s human rights atrocities.
Dr. Andreas Fulda of the University of Nottingham states that “German governments, both past and present, have consistently prioritized trade with China over other enlightened German national interests, for example democracy and human rights.”
“German governments, both past and present, have consistently prioritized trade with China over other enlightened German national interests, for example democracy and human rights.”
“Such a commercially-driven China engagement, however, is not a value-free proposition. Whether it is the incarceration of 1.5 million Uyghurs and Kazakhs in mainland Chinese internment and labor camps, the suppression of Hong Kong’s democracy movement, or the cover-up of Covid-19: German Chancellor Merkel does not seem to fully appreciate how continued Communist Party rule endangers peace, security and public health, not just in China, but around the world,” he wrote on Twitter.
Everyone understands Germany’s reluctance to assert itself, based on two world wars, and the country’s habitual instinct to remain equidistant between major powers, based on the Cold War. But Germany needs to grow out of these atavistic habits and, using its huge economic and political influence, and its example of a humane social-democratic state, help protect human rights. “Change through trade” is not working.
Today we face not only the problem of German mercantilist-passivity, but also a willful parroting of Chinese Communist Party propaganda that is endangering the safety of pro-democracy activists in Hong Kong. As Fulda points out, German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas made the claim that Hong Kong pro-democracy leader Joshua Wong “has a very separatist approach, that is not the position of the [German] federal government.” A few months ago, Maas basked in the limelight with Joshua Wong; now he has backed up the Chinese Communist Party lie that Wong is a separatist with the moral authority of the German Federal Government. That is something German citizens, and all who cherish human rights, should reject.
° Dr Aaron Rhodes is president of FOREF Europe