Republican Arkansas Sen. Tom Cotton condemned German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s 12th official trip to Beijing Thursday.
Merkel faces pressure from a social standpoint to address concerns over China’s handling of extradition bill protests in Hong Kong and from an economic standpoint to maintain healthy business relations with China, as the two countries’ car industries are heavily dependent on each other, Politico reported.
Cotton encouraged the German chancellor to put concerns of Chinese brutality against its citizens above all else during her three-day trip that starts Thursday. (RELATED: Hong Kong Withdraws Extradition Bill That Ignited Summer-Long Protests)
“Chancellor Merkel, since you’ve decided to go ahead with your trip to Beijing, want to make sure you’ve seen this video,” he wrote on Twitter, along with a video of Hong Kong police attacking civilians on a metro car.
“That’s footage of police trapping Hong Kong protestors in subway cars and beating them senseless as they scream for mercy. Worth keeping in mind as you kowtow to Chairman Xi [Jinping] on behalf of German corporations!” he added.
“Not that I expect the plight of Hong Kongers, or of Uighurs detained by the hundreds of thousands in Xinjiang, to be at the front of your mind — any more than you think about the Eastern Europeans whom Germany is selling out to Russia in exchange for the Nord Stream 2 pipeline,” Cotton continued.
“A friend to the Chinese Communist Party, a cold shoulder to those who want to remain free … quite the legacy,” the senator concluded.
Merkel is set to travel to China after Hong Kong activist Joshua Wong and other protesters published an open letter titled, “We plead with you, Chancellor Merkel: Please help us!” this week in the German tabloid publication Bild Zeitung, according to the Financial Times.
“We are a group of Hong Kong citizens, and sincerely ask you or your Cabinet to [address] the face of the proliferation of police brutality in Hong Kong and your upcoming trip to China,” the letter reads. “As you probably know, civilians in Hong Kong are becoming victims of police attacks on a daily basis.”
“We appeal to you as Federal Chancellor of Germany, a country dedicated to freedom of expression and human rights, and we hope that you will express your concern about our catastrophic situation and convey our demands to the Chinese Government during your stay in China,” it continues.
Merkel’s spokesman responded to the letter saying the chancellor had “taken note” of Wong’s address but does not plan on changing travel plans or meeting with activists, FT reported.