German parliamentarians urge support for Taiwan amid Hong Kong turmoil
Asked about ongoing protests in Hong Kong over a bill that would allow the extradition of criminal suspects to China for trial, Marcus Faber, one of the four parliamentarians from the Free Democratic Party (FDP) who are visiting Taiwan, told reporters that the protest shows the "one country, two systems" in Hong Kong is getting "closer and closer to one (communism) system."
Tens of thousands of people took to the streets of Hong Kong Wednesday to protest the proposed bill, which would allow the city to transfer suspects to jurisdictions with which it currently lacks formal extradition agreements, including mainland China. Critics fear that China could target political opponents with the proposed arrangement.
Faced with a more aggressive Beijing, Daniela Kluckert, the leader of the delegation, said Germany, the European Union and democratic countries around the world need to stand together.
"We really have to stand together due to our shared values of democracy and free speech," she noted.
Torsten Herbst, a third member of the delegation, praised Taiwan as a beacon of democracy.
Born and raised in East Germany, Herbst said he fought for freedom and democracy before German reunification in 1990 and feels he has a personal connection with the protesters in Hong Kong.
Meanwhile, Frank Müller-Rosentritt, said in this difficult time it is even more important for Germany to support Taiwan's participation in international organizations such as the World Health Organization and INTERPOL, which Taiwan is not allowed to join due to Chinese pressure.
Müller-Rosentritt said he is also disappointed to see that when Taiwanese ministers visit Germany, they are not received by their counterparts but by a deputy or other senior officials, due to Chinese pressure.
Taiwan's foreign minister and defense minister are also not allowed to visit Germany due to German's diplomatic recognition of Beijing instead of Taipei, he noted.
Müller-Rosentritt said he wants to see the German government change that kind of unfair treatment of Taiwanese senior officials and show them the courtesy they deserve in the near future, starting by sending its ministers to meet with Taiwanese counterparts.
The parliamentarians also called for closer exchanges, including in education and culture, with Taiwan, to bring the peoples of the two countries closer together.
The four lawmakers are making their first-ever visit to Taiwan at the invitation of Taiwan's foreign ministry for a week-long stay during which they met and exchanged views with the country's foreign minister, digital minister and other senior officials. Their trip concludes Friday.