Taiwan lawmakers launch support group for Hong Kong democracy

Lawmakers in Taiwan launched a new group to help promote democracy in Hong Kong on Monday, a move likely to rile Beijing ahead of the 20th anniversary of the handover of the city from Britain back to China. AFP/SAM YEH

TAIPEI: Lawmakers in Taiwan launched a new group to help promote democracy in Hong Kong on Monday (Jun 12), a move likely to rile Beijing ahead of the 20th anniversary of the handover of the city from Britain back to China.

Taiwan and Hong Kong are thorns in Beijing’s side — both saw huge anti-China protests in 2014, known respectively as the Sunflower Movement and Umbrella Movement.

Ties with self-ruling Taiwan have worsened under China-sceptic President Tsai Ing-wen, who took office last year.

Beijing still sees Taiwan as part of its territory to be reunified and wants Tsai to acknowledge that the island is part of “one China”, which she has refused to do.

In semi-autonomous Hong Kong, frustration at a lack of political reform and fears that freedoms are under threat have led to the emergence of groups calling for self-determination or even independence from China, infuriating Beijing.

The new “Taiwan Congressional Hong Kong Caucus” comprises 18 lawmakers who say they want to help promote democracy in Hong Kong, including Huang Kuo-chang — one of the leaders of the Sunflower Movement and now a lawmaker with the New Power Party, which he heads.

Four other NPP legislators are part of the caucus, with the other members coming from Tsai’s Democratic Progressive Party (DPP).

“We have seen that the Beijing government continues to suppress Hong Kong people’s pursuit of true democracy,” Huang told reporters Monday.

The caucus would offer “assistance” by helping campaigners and lawmakers in both places to exchange views and discuss public policies, he added.

Huang and other top activists from the Sunflower Movement have been barred from entering Hong Kong since 2014.

High-profile Hong Kong pro-democracy activists and lawmakers, including Joshua Wong and Nathan Law, also attended the launch.

Law described Taiwan as an “ally”.

“We need to be united and share our experiences more as we are faced with suppression,” Wong added.

The 20-year-old emphasised that he did not advocate independence for Hong Kong — his and Law’s party Demosisto is calling for self-determination.

But political analyst Willy Lam said Beijing would not differentiate between independence activists and campaigners like Law and Wong.

Lam predicted Chinese authorities would “ferociously attack” the new group as evidence of collusion between pro-independence forces.

Taiwan has never formally declared independence from China and Beijing has said it would react with force if it ever did.

Tsai’s DPP is traditionally pro-independence, fuelling Beijing’s suspicion of her government.

Hong Kong is deeply divided into those calling for more democracy and pro-China voices as it approaches the Jul 1 handover anniversary.

Law was attacked by pro-Beijing demonstrators at Hong Kong airport in January on his return from a trip to Taiwan.

Wong and Law were both greeted by pro-China protesters in Taipei on that visit, during which they participated in an exchange of views between the democratic movements of Hong Kong and Taiwan.

Source: AFP/rw

This entry was posted in China, China - Hong Kong, China - Taiwan, Hong Kong, One-China policy, Taiwan and tagged , , , by Trần Đình Hoành. Bookmark the permalink.

About Trần Đình Hoành

I am an attorney in the Washington DC area, with a Doctor of Law in the US, attended the master program at the National School of Administration of Việt Nam, and graduated from Sài Gòn University Law School. I aso studied philosophy at the School of Letters in Sài Gòn. I have worked as an anti-trust attorney for Federal Trade Commission and a litigator for a fortune-100 telecom company in Washington DC. I have taught law courses for legal professionals in Việt Nam and still counsel VN government agencies on legal matters. I have founded and managed businesses for me and my family, both law and non-law. I have published many articles on national newspapers and radio stations in Việt Nam. In 1989 I was one of the founding members of US-VN Trade Council, working to re-establish US-VN relationship. Since the early 90's, I have established and managed VNFORUM and VNBIZ forum on VN-related matters; these forums are the subject of a PhD thesis by Dr. Caroline Valverde at UC-Berkeley and her book Transnationalizing Viet Nam. I translate poetry and my translation of "A Request at Đồng Lộc Cemetery" is now engraved on a stone memorial at Đồng Lộc National Shrine in VN. I study and teach the Bible and Buddhism. In 2009 I founded and still manage dotchuoinon.com on positive thinking and two other blogs on Buddhism. In 2015 a group of friends and I founded website CVD - Conversations on Vietnam Development (cvdvn.net). I study the art of leadership with many friends who are religious, business and government leaders from many countries. In October 2011 Phu Nu Publishing House in Hanoi published my book "Positive Thinking to Change Your Life", in Vietnamese (TƯ DUY TÍCH CỰC Thay Đổi Cuộc Sống). In December 2013 Phu Nu Publishing House published my book "10 Core Values for Success". I practice Jiu Jitsu and Tai Chi for health, and play guitar as a hobby, usually accompanying my wife Trần Lê Túy Phượng, aka singer Linh Phượng.

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