Mon, Jun 10, 2019 - Page 1 News List

Hong Kong students rally in Taipei

By Ann Maxon  /  Staff reporter

Hong Kong students and graduates protest proposals allowing extraditions from Hong Kong to China outside the Hong Kong, Economic, Trade and Cultural Office in Taipei yesterday.

Photo: Lin Cheng-kung, Taipei Times

Hundreds of Hong Kongers yesterday rallied outside the territory’s representative office in Taipei to protest a proposed extradition law, which they said could further erode the territory’s autonomy.

The rally, organized by Hong Kong students and alumni of Taiwanese universities, drew about 500 protesters to the Hong Kong Economic, Trade and Cultural Office, including former Causeway Bay Books manager Lam Wing-kei (林榮基), who fled to Taiwan in April for fear of being extradited to China, event organizers said.

The Fugitive Offenders and Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters Legislation Bill proposed by the Hong Kong government goes against public opinion and lacks legal basis, they said in a statement.

The bill and the manner in which the Hong Kong government has been trying to push it through at the expense of proper legislative procedures are “tyrannical,” they said.

If passed, the law would allow the Hong Kong government to extradite suspects to mainland China and to countries that are not signatories to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, such as North Korea and Iran, they said.

The Hong Kong government should immediately withdraw the bill and adhere to the principles of the “one country, two systems” framework, the Hong Kong Basic Law and international human rights law to ensure freedom and human rights are protected in the territory, they said.

The rally, which coincided with a demonstration in Hong Kong that drew tens of thousands of people to the streets, was part of a global campaign to oppose the bill, said Ho Wing-tung (何泳彤), a Hong Kong student from Chinese Culture University who planned the event in Taipei.

“We cannot be in Hong Kong today, but we hope to at least do something by holding this event,” she said.

An online petition that the group had launched to demand the withdrawal of the bill has received more than 620 signatures from Hong Kong students and alumni of Taiwanese universities, Ho said.

As a student of philosophy and art, she is concerned that the bill could lead to crackdowns on artistic expression, she said.

Chinese authorities have banned writers from using more than 50 characters to describe a kissing scene or depicting parts of the body below the neck, Ho added.

“If I am to work as an artist, perhaps I would not be able to paint nudes, or any part of the body below the neck, such as cleavage. Perhaps all I would be able to paint is just the eyes. I don’t know, but I would not want that to happen,” she said.

If passed, the law would affect Hong Kongers, Taiwanese and foreigners alike, Lam said.

People who visit Hong Kong for business or connecting flights could be arrested and tried in China under the law, he said.

Some young people in Hong Kong have already been arrested for opposing the government, he said.

“I wonder if they would have to run for their lives like me,” he said.

Selling books used to be legal in the territory, but he is now a wanted criminal, he said, adding: “I had no choice, but to leave.”

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