Sun, Oct 06, 2019 - Page 1 News List

Group calls for assistance strategy for Hong Kongers

By Peng Wan-hsin, Chung Li-hua and Jake Chung  /  Staff reporters, with staff writer

A masked anti-government protester is pictured in central Hong Kong on Friday.

Photo: Reuters

The Taiwan Association for Human Rights yesterday called on Hong Kong authorities not to further violate the UN Declaration on Human Rights Defenders, while urging the Taiwanese government to present contingency measures for providing humanitarian assistance to Hong Kongers.

Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam (林鄭月娥) on Friday invoked emergency powers to ban protesters from wearing masks at protests.

The move, aimed at quelling months of unrest, sparked immediate rallies and widespread clashes, with protesters vowing to defy the ban.

The association yesterday called on the Taiwanese government to coordinate a meeting of government agencies to quickly respond to the situation and uphold Article 18 of the Act Governing Relations with Hong Kong and Macau (香港澳門關係條例).

Article 18 mandates that the government should provide “any necessary assistance” to any residents of Hong Kong or Macau “whose safety and liberty are immediately threatened for political reasons.”

The protesters defending basic human rights and dignity of all “free Hong Kong people” have come under repeated assault by either the Hong Kong Police Force or individuals affiliated with the police, the association said, adding the ban on masks would only incite more Hong Kongers to join the protests against an “impotent and despotic government.”

The association also urged the government to amend Article 14 of the Assembly and Parade Act (集會遊行法), which empowers authorities to decline approval for petitions of assembly and protests based on “acts that would hamper the identification of individuals.”

It also called on the Democratic Progressive Party government to amend the act to abolish forcibly removing protesters and setting up restriction zones.

Separately yesterday, National Taiwan Normal University Department of East Asian Studies Professor Fan Shih-ping (范世平) said that Lam has successfully baited the people into a situation in which she can declare martial law.

Fan said Lam “wanted” more people to join the protest over the weekend so she could more legitimately invoke emergency powers.

“It is quite possible that Hong Kong could experience martial law or a curfew,” Fan said.

The “revolution” faction has gained more sway in Hong Kong and has taken over the protests from the rational and non-violent faction, he added.

As Lam shows no sign of backing down, the lack of dialogue or trust between Hong Kongers and Lam’s administration would only make the “revolution” faction that much more radical, Fan said.

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