Following in Taiwan's footsteps, Hong Kong in recent years has been struggling to become more democratic. Tomorrow's Legisla-tive Council elections are seen by many as a critical point in Hong Kong's democratic process. Democracy will have taken a step forward if the Democrats win a majority on the council. \nThough some consider Tai-wan's democratization to be a role model for Hong Kong, people there have a more conservative outlook. \nPaul Lin (林保華), also known as Linfeng (凌峰), writes commentaries for newspapers in Taiwan and Hong Kong (including the Taipei Times). Lin said it will be difficult for Hong Kong to democratize. \n"Democracy in Hong Kong depends on China. If mainland officials think democracy will destroy the territory's stability and economy, they will keep postponing the schedule for Hong Kong's political reform," he said. \nHaving observed Taiwan and Hong Kong for more than 20 years, Lin sees a very close relationship between the two. \nRole Model \n"As long as Taiwan remains a threat to China, the Chinese government will treat Hong Kong better. That is because mainland officials see Hong Kong's `one country, two systems' as a role model for Taiwan," Lin said. \nBut Legislative Council member Emily Lau (劉惠卿) said the model has not impressed Taiwan. \n"I guessed they [the Tai-wanese] have never believed in it. They have not believed in it since the 1980s," she said. \nPu Ta-chung (卜大中), chief writer at the Apple Daily, the only newspaper in this country run by Hong Kongers, said there is a lack of understanding between the people of Hong Kong and Taiwan. \n"Taiwanese take pleasure in Hong Kong's misfortunes, and Hong Kongers do the same with Taiwan. The relationship between the two is very unhealthy," Pu said. \nThis is due to few people in Hong Kong being sympathetic to Taiwan's isolation in the face of China's bullying, he said. \nGiven the number of people traveling between Hong Kong and Taiwan -- and the number of expatriates in both places, there ought to be a closer relationship between the two. \nAccording to the statistics from the Mainland Affairs Coun-cil's Department of Hong Kong and Macau Affairs, there are 37,000 Hong Kongers residing in Taiwan, while the number of Taiwanese in the territory is around 40,000. The number of tourists from Hong Kong reached 240,000 last year and a growing number of such tourists are young people. \nAlmost all those interviewed for this article, however, felt that Hong Kongers and Taiwanese do not care about each other. \nIndifference \n"Taiwan does not care about Hong Kong and vice versa. First, there is the language problem and, second, the two governments do not allow any communication between their officials. Hong Kong people know Taiwan is a dreaded topic to China's central government, and so try to avoid if possible," Lau said. \nPu feels there is a growing dislike between the two peoples. \n"Whenever Taiwanese see Hong Kong being oppressed by China -- for example, the attempt to enact Article 23 of the Basic Law or China's denial of the Hong Kong people's call for direct elections -- they feel happy. At the same time, when Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) was elected president, many Hong Kong people criticized the Taiwanese in order to please China." \nHe said that whenever Hong Kong and China "speak the same language," the Taiwanese hate Hong Kong. \nAccording to Pu, after China took over Hong Kong, "Taiwan consciousness" increased, and the relationship between China and Taiwan became more intense. He said the impression among the Taiwanese that few Hong Kong democrats are sympathetic to Taiwan is the major reason for the dislike of Hong Kong. \nHe said the indifference toward Hong Kong grew after the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) rose to power. \n"Because the government is indifferent to Hong Kong, there is less media coverage of Hong Kong and the people become more indifferent to the place," he said. \nBenjamin Wu, a Taiwanese who works in advertising and worked in Hong Kong for a year and a half, said the two peoples are indifferent to one other. \n"Hong Kong people know about Chen Shui-bian and [Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Chairman] Lien Chan (連戰), but they don't actually know about their political backgrounds. Tai-wanese only know who [Hong Kong Chief Executive] Tung Chee-hwa (董建華) is," Wu said. \nWu said that since Taiwanese are not sentimentally attached to the territory, and Hong Kongers are politically apathetic, the Tai-wanese do not expect people in the territory to care about Taiwan. \nIn his eyes, Hong Kong is simply a threshold to China. \nSimilarities and Differences \nWu, however, thinks Hong Kong people are practical and realistic. \n"They like to talk about superficial topics, like celebrities and real estate," he said. \nWhile Taiwanese think people in the territory are preoccupied with economics, Hong Kongers believe that the Taiwanese are too political. \n"The Taiwanese are so polarized when they talk about politics. They are almost fanatical. Just turn on the TV and you can see political shows every night," said Paul Cheung (張沖), a restaurant owner who moved from Hong Kong to Taiwan 30 years ago. \n"This is not a good sign when politics become a mass move-ment. Taiwan should focus on economic development, especially as its economy hasn't fully recovered. Talking too much about politics only serves to isolate Taiwan from the rest of the world," Cheng said. \nHowever, he feels there are similarities between Taiwan and Hong Kong. \nPu said both places are former colonies and do not have their own culture. \n"The two places are similar in this respect. In face of that, Taiwan and Hong Kong lack mutual support." Pu said. \nMore Communication Needed \n Lin thinks Taiwan and Hong Kong should support each other -- and learn from one another. \n"Taiwan is more advanced in democracy than Hong Kong. Whether the voting system is good or not, whether there will be any fights during the process, these are still experiences that Taiwan can have," Lin said. \n"This is what Hong Kongers cannot understand," he said. \nTaiwan's judicial system, however, is not as good as Hong Kong's, he said, noting that people here frequently make malicious attacks while people in the territory don't dare because they could be sued for slander. \n"Hong Kongers know exactly what they can and cannot do. The judicial spirit in Hong Kong is much better than in Taiwan, and better developed too," Lin said. \nChang Yung-shan (張永山), director of MAC's Department of Hong Kong and Macau Affairs, would like to see the two places learn more from one another. \n"Taiwan has made the best effort to preserve Chinese culture, while Hong Kong is a mixture of Chinese and Western culture," Chang said. \n"Hong Kong should learn from Taiwan how to preserve the culture of a family society," Chang said. \n"Being a financial center, Hong Kong is full of talented people who are used to the Western idea of obeying the law. However, they are also filled with the Western spirit of utilitarianism, and lack the Chinese touch of humanity," Chang said. "The two places should supplement each other." \nNoting that Taiwan is Hong Kong's fourth-largest economic partner, he said the two should share more cultural exchanges. \n"They should maintain a relationship of competition and cooperation," he said. \nCheung also thinks there should be more exchanges. \n"Sometimes the people in two places are too extreme. Hong Kongers are too pragmatic and the Taiwanese are too fanatic. They could neutralize the excessiveness of one another," he said. \n"People from Hong Kong, Taiwan and mainland China are all Chinese -- why do the governments always complicate things by making a simple question political? The cross-strait enmity puts too much pressure on the common people" Cheung said, echoing the opinion of many people in Hong Kong. \n"Though Taiwan and Hong Kong have different cultures and viewpoints due to their different colonial histories, I hope that we can step away from the restrictions to become free Chinese. Then maybe two places can grower closer for the next generation," Cheung said.
FATAL FIRE: The health department is trying to contact the inspector who visited the site of the illegal nursing home to ask why they did not advise follow-up checks The Taipei City Government yesterday said that a health department inspector last year had visited the site of a long-term care facility in Neihu District (內湖) after receiving a report questioning its status. A fire broke out at the facility on Tuesday afternoon, killing three people. The Taipei Fire Department said that it received a report about a fire on the first floor of a four-story residential building on Kangning Road Sec. 1 at 2:38pm on Tuesday, firefighters arrived at 2:43pm and the fire was put out by 3:07pm. The firefighters found three men in beds and rushed them to hospital for
Taipei City Councilor Wang Hao (王浩) of the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) on Monday called for security improvements to the MRT, as fare evasion has increased more than 13-fold on the metropolitan railway system over the past five years. Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) has spoken out against fare evasion and other contraventions of MRT regulations, but since he took office in 2015 the number of contraventions has more than doubled, Wang said, adding that there were 537 cases in 2015 compared with 959 last year. A video was posted to YouTube in June showing people how to evade paying a fare,
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Yuchi Township (魚池) fishers have appealed to the Nantou County Government for help in dealing with an invasive fish species in Sun Moon Lake (日月潭), where it has devastated the local ecosystem. Fishers at Sun Moon Lake have been using electrofishing in an attempt to eliminate the giant snakehead fish — found in Africa and Southeast Asia — but they have struggled to keep up with the growing population of the species, which breeds during September and October, the county government said on Monday. The county has contacted researchers at National Tsing Hua University, saying it hoped they could come up