Tue, Sep 30, 2014 - Page 1 News List

President and premier call for calm in Hong Kong

By Shih Hsiu-chuan  /  Staff reporter

President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) yesterday urged Beijing to “listen to the voices of Hong Kong people” and respond to their appeals for universal suffrage “in a peaceful manner, along with a cautious attitude,” while calling on Hong Kong residents to express their opinions peacefully and rationally.

Ma was addressing members of the World Taiwanese Chambers of Commerce in Taipei yesterday when he delivered a brief remark about the escalation of protests in Hong Kong against Beijing’s proposal to control the territory’s chief executive election in 2017 and the strong response by police to disperse the crowds.

“Popular elections have been held in Taiwan for a long time. Whenever there has been an election, there have been friends from Hong Kong to observe the polls. We fully understand and support their demand for universal suffrage,” Ma said.

As Hong Kong is one of the world’s important financial centers, any political turmoil in the territory would send shock waves through Asia and even the world, Ma said.

Ma then urged both China and Hong Kongers to keep the peace: “We do not want to see any conflicts [between police and protesters].”

“It’s everyone’s hope that Hong Kong will move toward democracy gradually, and we believe that it would be a win-win situation for both Hong Kong and mainland China if universal suffrage is realized in the future,” Ma said.

Separately, Premier Jiang Yi-huah (江宜樺) said that Taiwan has “a high degree of support” for the fight by Hong Kongers for the right to elect their own leader.

“The Republic of China government welcomes the push toward universal suffrage,” Jiang told lawmakers at the Legislative Yuan in Taipei. “As to the design and date of the election, it will be up to the government and people of Hong Kong to decide through rational dialogue.”

He said the government is watching the Hong Kong protests closely and hopes that a resolution can be reached peacefully.

He also confirmed that Taipei has conveyed its stance on the issue to Beijing, and has called on Beijing and the Hong Kong authorities to respect Hong Kongers’ desire for democracy, which he said is an irreversible trend around the world.

Additional reporting by CNA

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