French President Emmanuel Macron said on Wednesday that he told Chinese leader Xi Jinping that dialogue, restraint and a “de-escalation” were needed in Hong Kong after months of pro-democracy protests.

Emmanuel Macron
Emmanuel Macron. Photo: LeWebb, via Flickr.

Macron said he raised the issue with Xi “on several occasions” during his official visit to China — ignoring prior warnings from Beijing that sensitive topics such as Hong Kong should not be on the agenda.

“I obviously conveyed our concerns, which are shared by Europe,” Macron said at a news conference at the French embassy.

“We called on several occasions for dialogue… restraint,” he said, adding that he called for “de-escalation through dialogue.”

Xi Jinping
Xi Jinping. Photo: Kremlin.

The international finance hub has been convulsed by five months of huge and increasingly violent protests calling for greater democratic freedoms and police accountability.

Beijing has repeatedly accused “foreign forces” of fuelling the unrest in the semi-autonomous city, a former British colony that was returned to China in 1997.

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