German Chancellor Angela Merkel touched a raw nerve in the last week, for her soft stance on China amid the Hong Kong crisis. Her statements reflected upon wanting to “continue to seek dialogue and conversation” with the East Asian country, thus drawing flak for her lukewarm approach amid international condemnation of China’s new security law -- which poses a high risk to Hong Kong’s independence.

“Merkel's China policy is behind the times,” said Nils Schmid, a foreign policy spokesperson for the Social Democrats while speaking to a media outlet. “She still sticks to this idea of convergence, that as we deepen our economic ties with China, it will become more liberal and western-oriented. But that's just out of date,” added Schmid.

While Merkel has maintained that the country’s ties with China are of strategic importance, evoking critics to question her perspectives, a volley of members in Germany’s parliament feel the chancellor isn’t doing as much as required. “What the German government said about Hong Kong was the absolute minimum, and it just wasn't enough,” said Norbert Röttgen, a member of Merkel's Christian Democratic Party and the head of the German parliament's foreign affairs committee.

Merkel’s approach stands as a steep contrast to the measures taken forth by the United States and the United Kingdom. UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson took a firm stance against the Beijing crisis by rolling out residency visas to up to 3 million Hong Kong citizens, slamming Beijing’s move as a “clear and serious” breach of the Sino- British treaty.

The United States, on the other hand, greenlit a volley of sanctions on China, warning to impose heavy penalties upon banks that carry out transactions with Chinese officials. The announcement was followed by FBI Director Christopher Wray explosive statements on Tuesday that China was the greatest long-term threat to the United States.

“The Chinese government is engaged in a broad, diverse campaign of theft and malign influence, and it can execute that campaign with authoritarian efficiency,” said Wray during a speech at the Hudson Institute of Washington, while citing that China is persistent and “not subject to the righteous constraints of the rule of law”.

Angela Merkel Auschwitz
German Chancellor Angela Merkel delivers a speech during the 10th Anniversary of Auschwitz Foundation on December 6, 2019 in Oswiecim, Poland. Merkel is visiting Auschwitz for the first time since she became chancellor 14 years ago. The former Nazi death camp will commemorate the 75th anniversary of the camp's liberation by Soviet forces where about 200 holocaust survivors and several heads of state such as Royals from Netherlands and Spain, President of Germany and Israel among others will be present on January 27, 2020. Omar Marques/Getty Images

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