Tue, Jun 13, 2017 - Page 1 News List

HK democracy caucus formed at Legislative Yuan

JOINING HANDS:Joshua Wong and other ‘Umbrella movement’ activists attended the launch of the new group to promote shared democratic values

By Abraham Gerber  /  Staff reporter

From left, New Power Party (NPP) Legislator Hsu Yung-ming, Hong Kong activist Alex Chow, NPP Legislator Kawlo Iyun Pacidal, Hong Kong lawmakers Eddie Chu and Raymond Chan, NPP Executive Chairman Huang Kuo-chang, Legislative Yuan Secretary-General Lin Chi-chia, Hong Kong Legislator Nathan Law and Hong Kong student activist Joshua Wang cheer at a news conference at the Legislative Yuan in Taipei yesterday after the announcement of the formation of a new caucus to focus on the territory.

Photo: CNA

China’s promise of self-rule for Hong Kong has degenerated into “one country, one-and-a-half systems,” Hong Kong democracy campaigner Joshua Wong (黃之鋒) said yesterday in Taipei at the launch of a caucus on Hong Kong democracy at the Legislative Yuan.

“The reality is that Hong Kong’s ‘one country, two systems’ has degenerated into ‘one country, one-and-a-half systems.’ We are very grateful that Taiwanese legislators are willing to express their support for us as the 20th anniversary of the transfer of [Hong Kong’s] sovereignty to China and [Chinese President] Xi Jinping’s (習近平) trip to Hong Kong draw near,” said Wong, secretary-general of the Demosisto party and a leading figure in the territory’s 2014 “Umbrella movement.”

Wong, several Hong Kong lawmakers and other democracy campaigners from the territory attended the launch ceremony alongside caucus founder New Power Party (NPP) Executive Chairman Huang Kuo-chang (黃國昌) and other Taiwanese legislators.

“We hope this platform can focus on and provide some support to our Hong Kong friends as they fight for true democracy,” Huang said.

However, he said that Hong Kong activists participated to “express their hopes” for the caucus rather than as formal members, setting it apart from numerous similar friendship associations between the Legislative Yuan and foreign parliaments.

“Today what we want to tell Hong Kong activists is that only the people of Hong Kong can change Hong Kong, but we can do everything in our power to share our histories, promote interchanges and express our support for common values,” said Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Wang Ding-yu (王定宇), who represented the party caucus at the meeting.

Public hearings on Hong Kong democracy and changes to the Laws and Regulations Regarding Hong Kong and Macao Affairs (香港澳門關係條例) should be held to guarantee that activists are never banned from entering Taiwan because of their involvement in social movements, Huang said.

Huang and several other prominent Sunflower movement activists have been barred from entering Hong Kong, while activists from the territory, such as Wong, have been denied entry to several Southeast Asian countries.

“In the face of new challenges as a result of China’s efforts to further isolate Hong Kong and Taiwan through the Asian Development Bank and the ‘One Belt, One Road’ [initiative], it has become even more pressing for progressive forces to pool their energies,” said Alex Chow (周永康), another “Umbrella movement” leader, who reiterated calls for the Taiwanese government to formulate a policy treating Hong Kong as “more than just a part of China.”

Demosisto Legislator Nathan Law (羅冠聰) urged President Tsai Ing-wen’s (蔡英文) administration to issue an official statement on Hong Kong democracy as the 20th anniversary of the territory’s handover nears.

“If the Taiwanese government would express its concern over Hong Kong’s democratic self-government, we would be deeply encouraged,” Law said. ”While the Taiwanese government has its own concerns, we both share a firm belief in democratic self-government and the development of human rights. Supporting one another on these issues is very reasonable and should not backfire.”

Hong Kong campaigners were also careful to draw a distinction between upholding common democratic values and supporting Taiwanese independence.

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