President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) has hit out at Beijing's moves to impose new security laws in Hong Kong which he said violate promises and stand as a warning against reuniting Taiwan and China.
In a Wall Street Journal interview published yesterday, Chen said the new laws, which have sparked huge protests in the territory, showed Hong Kong had gone from "having freedom to losing freedom" since its return to China in 1997.
"We couldn't have imagined that in just six short years since Hong Kong's return to China it would change so fast," he said.
Chen said the proposed laws banning treason, sedition, subversion and the theft of state secrets break the deal which links the former British colony to Beijing.
"Fewer and fewer people will believe that what the Beijing authorities say is real," he said.
Hong Kong's relationship with the China is governed by the "one country, two systems" principle that allows it to maintain its open-market way of life for 50 years after the handover of sovereignty.
Chen said Taiwan was unwilling to capitulate to Beijing's demands of direct ties at the cost of political freedom.