Politicians across party lines yesterday blasted China’s “one country, two systems” formula for unification, while President Tsai Ing-wen’s (蔡英文) administration voiced its support for the tens of thousands in Hong Kong who on Sunday protested against controversial amendments to extradition laws.
Taiwanese must tell the world that the nation rejects China’s “one country, two systems” framework, Tsai said, after demonstrators in Hong Kong clashed with police over changes seen as undermining the territory’s judicial independence.
Tsai made the remarks in a series of Facebook posts from Sunday evening to yesterday morning, urging the nation to stand with Hong Kong’s fight for democracy, and to safeguard Taiwan’s democratic rights and freedoms.
Photo: Chien Jung-fong, Taipei Times
“Freedom, like air, is seldom noticed except when [we are] deprived of it,” Tsai said, adding that Beijing’s “one country, two systems” framework is “utterly unacceptable,” as it would deprive the nation of its freedoms and ability to determine its future.
“I ask Taiwanese to ... support Hong Kong and defend Taiwan together,” she wrote.
Taiwan must refuse to become the next Hong Kong, where the “one country, two systems” model has been implemented under China’s rule, Executive Yuan spokeswoman Kolas Yotaka said.
Beijing is to blame for the scenes of violence in Hong Kong, Kolas said on Facebook.
More than 1 million people demonstrated to oppose the legislation, which flouted Beijing’s promises that Hong Kong would enjoy a high degree of autonomy after its handover in 1997, she said.
“Has anyone forgotten that Taiwan’s Lee Ming-che (李明哲) is being held in China on trumped-up charges?” Kolas asked.
Hong Kong became a prosperous international metropolis on the foundation of freedom and democracy, which is being destroyed by China’s autocratic system that its laws serve to disguise, Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) spokeswoman Isis Lee (李明俐) said.
After 22 years of “one country, two systems,” the world sees clearly that Beijing has pushed Hong Kong into dire straits by pillaging the territory’s economy and destroying the rights and freedoms of its inhabitants, she said.
“Hong Kong lives in the reality of ‘one country’ and the illusion of ‘two systems,’” Lee said.
“Certain political parties and figures with naive fantasies about China are still advocating a Greater China ideology, but they are only digging a grave for the nation and the future of the Republic of China, Taiwan,” she added.
While the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) did not comment on the protest, a number of KMT presidential contenders maintained that the formula is not an option for Taiwan.
“Hong Kong’s today will never become Taiwan’s tomorrow, because we have never considered the ‘one country, two systems’ as a political option,” former New Taipei City Mayor Eric Chu (朱立倫) said on Facebook.
Kaohsiung Mayor Han Kuo-yu (韓國瑜) drew flak on Sunday for initially saying: “I do not know about it,” when asked about the protest.
At noon yesterday, the Kaohsiung City Government issued a statement saying that the “one country, two systems” framework is opposed by a vast majority of Taiwanese and is therefore inappropriate for Taiwan, regardless of its success or failure in Hong Kong.
Hon Hai Precision Industry Co (鴻海精密) chairman Terry Gou (郭台銘), another KMT presidential hopeful, said that the “one country, two systems” framework failed in Hong Kong and that is why he urged Han not to visit China’s Taiwan Affairs Office and liaison office when the mayor visited the territory in March.
At the time, he had not decided to join the KMT primary and only wanted to protect Han, Gou said.
“I do not blame Han, as he has been manipulated by certain [pro-China] media outlets,” Gou added.
Former premier William Lai (賴清德), a DPP presidential hopeful, said that the nation must not shy from aiding Hong Kong.
China is behind the proposed extradition revisions to tighten its grip on Hong Kong, Lai said, calling on Beijing to put a stop to its atrocious behavior.
“I condemn China for its ongoing attempt in Hong Kong to suppress freedoms of speech and assembly,” he added.
Should he be elected president, defending Taiwan would be his administration’s top priority and he would steadfastly reject the “one country, two systems” framework or the signing of a peace treaty with Beijing, he said.
“We must not allow Taiwan to go the way of Hong Kong or Tibet,” Lai added.
Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je (柯文哲), widely believed to be a potential presidential contender, reiterated his remark that “if the ‘one country, two systems’ formula is like the Hong Kong model, then everyone would run away.”
A group of young people yesterday evening staged a rally outside the Hong Kong Economic, Trade and Cultural Office in Taipei to show their support for people in Hong Kong.
Additional reporting by Ann Maxon, Lee I-chia, Yang Chun-hui and Lin Liang-sheng
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