Mon, Jun 17, 2019 - Page 1 News List

Thousands rally in Taipei to support HK

By Ann Maxon  /  Staff reporter

A woman holds up a placard during a demonstration outside the Legislative Yuan in Taipei yesterday.

Photo: Fang Pin-chao, Taipei Times

Thousands of people yesterday rallied outside the Legislative Yuan in Taipei, demanding that the Hong Kong government withdraw its controversial extradition bill and release protesters arrested in connection with demonstrations in the territory last week.

The rally organized by Hong Kong students, the Taiwan Citizen Front and the Taiwan Youth Association for Democracy (TYAD), drew more than 10,000 people despite scorching heat, organizers said.

Although Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam (林鄭月娥) on Saturday said that the reviews of the bill in Hong Kong’s Legislative Council would be suspended, it was not withdrawn, said TYAD member Michelle Wu (吳奕柔), who is also president of the National Taiwan University Student Association.

If passed, the bill would allow anyone arrested in Hong Kong to be extradited to mainland China for trial, subjecting them to that nation’s notoriously opaque judicial system, she said.

“We urge Carrie Lam to immediately promise to withdraw the bill, take responsibility for the violent crackdowns that escalated clashes between police and protesters, stop persecution of protesters, cease unwarranted searches and thoroughly investigate officers involved in police violence,” Wu said.

Hong Kong’s experience should serve as a warning for Taiwanese, proving that Beijing’s “one country, two systems” arrangement cannot be trusted, said Hong Kong Independence Union convener Wayne Chan (陳家駒), who was arrested in Hong Kong on Sunday last week for joining protests against the bill and released on bail the following day.

He used to believe that the arrangement would protect Hong Kongers’ freedom, ensure democracy and the rule of the law in the territory, he said.

“However, today we cannot even speak out loud the truth we believe in, or express our expectations for Hong Kong’s future,” he said.

He will soon return to Hong Kong to face investigation from the authoritarian government, he said.

“I do not know whether the government would again shoot and arrest people for going on strike, but we Hong Kongers will fight to the end no matter what,” he said.

Taiwan and Hong Kong must stand in solidarity in their fight against Beijing, both being victims of China’s imperialism, said Wu Ruei-ren (吳叡人), an associate research fellow at Academia Sinica Institute of Taiwan History.

China expands its authoritarianism by promoting the “one country, two systems” framework, which is in reality a form of imperialism and colonialism, he said, adding: “Hong Kong deserves a second chance to realize self-determination.”

The Taipei rally, which began at 2pm, lasted more than three hours before ending with people placing white flowers and paper cranes in front of a stage on Jinan Road to condemn police violence against the protesters in Hong Kong and offer condolences for a Hong Kong man who died on Saturday after falling from scaffolding in the Admiralty district after he hung a banner opposing the extradition bill.

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