Thousands of Hong Kong residents yesterday marched in protest on the 19th anniversary of the territory’s return to Chinese rule, as tensions simmer against Chinese authorities over the abductions of several Hong Kong booksellers.
Some waved banners criticizing Beijing over alleged cross-border abductions as the act of a “totalitarian” regime, as well as calling for the release of leading dissidents.
“This is a very grave threat to the safety of Hong Kong residents, that an unknown force is spying on people,” pro-democracy lawmaker Cyd Ho (何秀蘭) said at the rally. “The Hong Kong government has to follow up with the central government on what is really happening behind the scenes.”
The territory has been unnerved in the past year by the disappearances of five booksellers who specialized in works critical of Chinese leaders.
One of the men, Lam Wing-kei (林榮基), who was detained for eight months by Chinese agents and released last month, said Beijing was “violating Hong Kong’s rights” through illegal cross-border enforcement operations.
The tactics have raised fears that Chinese Communist Party (CCP) rulers in Beijing are eroding the so-called “one country, two systems” formula that has granted Hong Kong a high degree of freedom and autonomy since its 1997 return to Chinese rule.
China has denied any wrongdoing.
Lam, who had been due to lead the march that each year draws thousands of people, withdrew at the last minute, citing safety concerns after being followed by two strangers, a lawmaker said.
“He feels increasingly concerned about his personal safety,” Democratic Party Legislator Albert Ho (何俊仁) said.
Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office of the State Director Wang Guangya (王光亞) said the booksellers had “destroyed” the one country, two systems formula by publishing books that are banned in mainland China.
However, Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平), speaking in the Great Hall of the People in Beijing to mark the CCP’s 95th anniversary, yesterday said that “no matter what the difficulties and challenges, our confidence and determination toward one country, two systems will not waver.”
Xi said that Hong Kong would continue to enjoy a high degree of autonomy and Beijing would strictly adhere to the law.
Yesterday’s protests are considered a barometer of public sentiment toward Beijing ahead of territorial legislative elections in September.
A group of activists who advocate Hong Kong independence from China are planning an evening “black mask” protest outside the Liaison Office of the Central People’s Government in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region.
A 79-day Umbrella movement in late 2014 demanding Beijing allow full democracy in Hong Kong brought chaos to the streets.
‘HERO OF THE ERA’: President Tsai Ing-wen expressed deep sadness at Lee’s passing, and told the government to assist his family with all their needs Former president Lee Teng-hui (李登輝) passed away at 7:24pm yesterday at Taipei Veterans General Hospital. He was 97 years old. The hospital stated the cause of death as septic shock and multiple organ failure. Lee had been hospitalized there since February, when he choked on a mouthful of milk at home. He was later diagnosed with pulmonary infiltrates and aspiration pneumonia. The hospital said that Lee had been treated with antibiotics, but that his health had not improved, as his advanced age and diabetes had inhibited his immune system and led to recurring infections. During his hospitalization, Lee underwent daily kidney dialysis, which removed
‘WEAK POSITIVE’: The man arrived in Taiwan in May and was quarantined for two weeks, Chen Shih-chung said, adding that he might be infected a long time ago The government is considering tightening mask-wearing rules again in light of a potential domestic COVID-19 infection, Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中) said yesterday. The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) confirmed seven new COVID-19 cases, six of which are imported. The other case involves a Belgian engineer who entered Taiwan on May 3 and remained in quarantine until May 17, said Chen, who heads the CECC. Although the source of infection has yet to be identified, the case could end the nation’s record of not having any domestic cases in the previous 110 days. The Belgian, in his 20s, is a technician
RECEIVING TREATMENT: President Tsai Ing-wen, Vice President William Lai and Premier Su Tseng-chang visited former president Lee Teng-hui yesterday morning Taipei Veterans General Hospital yesterday rebutted speculation that former president Lee Teng-hui (李登輝) had died a day earlier, saying that he was weak, but receiving treatment. The hospital said the 97-year-old Lee was not in good condition and needed ongoing care, adding that if there are any changes in his condition, it would make those public. The comments came after rumors emerged online on Tuesday that Lee had died after being hospitalized since early February. Soon after the unsubstantiated rumors emerged, reporters started flocking to the hospital seeking confirmation. Lee was admitted to Taipei Veterans General Hospital on Feb. 8 after choking while drinking
ROAD TO HISTORY: When Lee Teng-hui joined the KMT, the likelihood of a Taiwanese becoming ROC president, much less its first directly elected one, was hard to imagine Lee Teng-hui (李登輝), who was born on Jan. 15, 1923, in the farming community of Sanshi Village, Taihoku Prefecture — now New Taipei City’s Sanzhi District (三芝) — during the Japanese colonial era, and rose to become mayor of Taipei and not only the Republic of China’s (ROC) first Taiwan-born president, but its first directly elected one as well. Educated in the Japanese educational system of the time, Lee, who spoke Japanese, Hoklo (also known as Taiwanese), Mandarin and English, won a scholarship to Kyoto Imperial University, but his studies were interrupted by World War II. He earned a bachelor’s