Wed, Oct 19, 2016 - Page 1 News List

HK activist urges Taiwan to strive for independence

TIME IS RUNNING OUT:Hong Kong Indigenous cofounder Ray Wong said peaceful protest could no longer be counted on to attain the territory’s freedom from China

By Chen Wei-han  /  Staff reporter

Hong Kong activist Ray Wong, center, attends a news conference with members of the pro-independence Taiwan Radical Wings party in Taipei yesterday

Photo: Huang Yao-cheng, Taipei Times

Hong Kong activist Ray Wong (黃台仰), who is visiting Taiwan to seek allies for Hong Kong’s independence movement, yesterday urged Taiwan to connect with people suppressed by China and to not to give up the goal of independence, despite the relative freedom the nation enjoys.

“Although Taiwan is the freest and most democratic Chinese-speaking nation, it cannot afford to be complacent about its status amid China’s threats, which could cause Taiwan to fall under [China’s] authoritarian rule,” Wong told a news conference in Taipei organized by the pro-independence Taiwan Radical Wings party.

Wong, a spokesman of pro-independence group Hong Kong Indigenous who is facing charges over his involvement in the territory’s “fishball revolution” in February, could become the Hong Kong independence movement’s first prisoner if convicted.

Over the past two weeks, Wong has visited Taiwanese independence advocates Su Beng (史明) and Chang Tsan-hung (張燦鍙) and held talks with pro-independence groups.

Taiwan, despite its relatively independent status, is in the same boat as Hong Kong, Tibet, Xinjiang and Inner Mongolia, which are subject to China’s suppression, and it is critical to form an alliance against the Chinese threat, Wong said.

“Hong Kong is a good example for Taiwan. If Taiwan cannot stand firm against China, it might not escape China’s claws,” he said.

Although Beijing promised a high degree of autonomy for Hong Kong under the “one country, two systems” framework, the territory has seen dramatic changes under China’s governance, which gave rise to pro-localization protests, including the “Umbrella movement” in 2014 and this year’s “fishball revolution,” he said.

Wong and fellow activist Edward Leung (梁天琦) founded Hong Kong Indigenous to promote Hong Kong’s independence and organize protests following the “Umbrella movement” and a campaign opposing China’s school curriculum revisions — protests that, according to Wong, failed because they were too peaceful.

“It is impossible to seek freedom in the established system, because China has deprived Hong Kong of political autonomy. Freedom cannot be attained without Hong Kong being separated from China,” he said.

“There is not much time left [before the ‘one country, two systems’ framework expires in 2047]. We can no longer count on peaceful protest,” he said.

More than 40 percent of young people in Hong Kong support independence, suggesting that it is not a dream, he added.

The oppression of people in Hong Kong by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) resembles the persecution of Taiwanese under the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) regime, with the KMT and CCP having teamed up to suppress Taiwan’s democracy, World United Formosans for Independence chairman Chen Nan-tien (陳南天) said.

Taiwan and Hong Kong are in pursuit of the universal values of freedom, democracy and fair elections, and increased interaction between activists from both sides is necessary for independence movements to gather momentum, Chen said.

Taiwan Radical Wings Taipei office convener Ho Chen-hui (何澄輝) said Wong and his generation have shown great courage in the pursuit of democracy, despite Beijing’s military threats.

Asked whether Wong would approach the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) or government officials, Ho said that there was no such plan so far, but added that the DPP did not try to pressure Wong or avoid him, which has been unlike the KMT’s treatment of independence activists.

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