Maas threatens consequences for HK security law in talks with China

German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas threatened Beijing with consequences for its sweeping Hong Kong security law on Friday following a video conference with his Chinese counterpart, Wang Yi.

“When the principle ‘one country, two systems’ is undermined by the security law, that has consequences for our relationship with Hong Kong and China,” Maas said in a statement following the talks.

Maas, whose country currently holds the European Union’s rotating six-month presidency, said he spoke with Wang about discussions he had had on a possible response with Britain and the EU.

Maas said on Wednesday that Germany might go it alone in responding to China’s far-reaching new law, rather than waiting for other EU member states.

As possible measures, he suggested relaxing entry requirements to Germany for Hong Kong nationals, an export ban for certain defence equipment, scholarship programmes for threatened academics, artists and journalists, or an end to Germany’s extradition treaty with Hong Kong.

The national security law for Hong Kong, a semi-autonomous Chinese territory, targets activities deemed by Beijing to be subversive, separatist or terrorist.

It has stoked fears among pro-democracy activists in the city and provoked condemnation from governments around the world concerned that it threatens the “one country, two systems” status quo.

During his discussion with Maas, Wang complained that the United States was pressuring its allies on the issue.

“The goal of the United States is to completely stop the developmental progress of China,” the top Chinese diplomat said in a statement issued by his ministry.

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