Hong Kong protests Photograph:( Reuters )
Germany on Tuesday claimed that China attempted to intimidate Hong Kong residents living in Germany after protests broke out in the semi-autonomous city two years ago
Germany on Tuesday claimed that China attempted to intimidate Hong Kong residents living in Germany after protests broke out in the semi-autonomous city two years ago.
In a letter to a lawmaker on Tuesday, the German Interior Ministry claimed that China attempted to "influence public opinion in favour of the Chinese government" in the backdrop of protests in Hong Kong.
The letter was sent to the head of the German parliament's human rights committee - Gyde Jensen in response to a request made to fetch further information on the subject. Critics hope that this could pressurise Chancellor Angela Merkel to take a stronger stand against China over reported human rights abuses.
"Since the start of the protests in Hong Kong, increasing attempts by Chinese state actors in Germany to influence public opinion in favour of the Chinese government, as well as actions against supporters of the protests, have been identified," the ministry said in the letter, which was first published in the Sueddeutsche Zeitung newspaper, Reuters reported.
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The letter refers to pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong that took place on August 17, 2019. During the protests, pro-government demonstrators filmed the participants "presumably for the purpose of intimidation".
720 people from Hong Kong have a residency permit in Germany, the letter added.
Jensen, who is also a member of the liberal Free Democratic Party (FDP) Party told Reuters the following - "It is about time that the German government realised that actors for the Chinese government could pose a threat to exiled Hong Kongers."
"I am unfortunately sceptical that the mechanisms used by our security agencies are sufficient to effectively protect those affected," she said. Reuters reported that a German interior ministry spokesman claimed that they were unaware of the letter, while the Chinese embassy in Berlin did not respond.
(With inputs from Reuters)