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Hong Kong: German business group urges dialogue

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The head of a group of leading German companies doing business in Asia has called for peaceful dialogue to end the stand-off in Hong Kong.

Joe Kaeser, the head of the Asia-Pacific Committee of German Business (APA), who also leads German industrial giant Siemens, said German business leaders were following the situation in Hong Kong with concern.

“The differing positions should be discussed in a non-violent dialogue based on current law and solutions should be developed,” Kaeser told the German daily Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung in comments published on Friday.

He expressed the hope for a swift joint resolution.

According to the APA, there are more than 600 German firms in Hong Kong.

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German companies have so far refrained from commenting on the situation there amidst escalating tension between pro-democracy protesters and authorities.

There have been massive protests in Hong Kong since June, against a controversial bill that would allow extraditions to China.

Protesters have frequently clashed with police and accused officers of using excessive force.

Over the weekend, more than 1 million people marched peacefully through the city, which is home to 7.5 million people.

Unlike in previous weeks, there were no major incidents and demonstrators did not set up barricades.

Further, smaller protests are expected this weekend, while organizers are gearing up for a major protest event on Aug. 31.

Hong Kong, a former British colony that was returned to China in 1997, is guaranteed a degree of independence under the “one country, two systems” principle.

However, that arrangement is set to expire in 2047, and many fear for the city’s future, dpa news reported.

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