Former Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) chairperson Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) yesterday urged Hong Kongers to vote in the semi-autonomous city’s legislative elections on Sunday to “empower” a democracy which was once the pride of the region.
In an editorial piece published yesterday in Hong Kong’s Apple Daily, Tsai praised the former British colony and said it once served as the inspiration for Taiwan’s democratic movement.
“Hong Kong’s diversity and liberty was why we believed democracy could be established in Taiwan someday,” Tsai said.
Hong Kong was like a window from which Taiwan could breathe the fresh air of democracy because of the freedom of speech and freedom to publish that existed in the city half a century ago, she said.
However, Hong Kongers have had to face various challenges since the territory was handed over to China in 1997, Tsai said.
The former DPP chairperson said that she understood people’s sense of urgency about protecting freedom and democracy for the next generation, evidenced by recent hunger strikes staged by students, professors and civic groups in Hong Kong over a China-led curriculum change promoting party-state ideology.
“Everyone in Taiwan will extend this sincere suggestion, and blessing: Cast your vote on Sunday for you and for Hong Kong because participation will empower democracy,” Tsai wrote.
Citing the example of a mass protest against media monopolization that took place in Taipei on Saturday, Tsai said democracy has now become a value, a way of life and the only legal foundation of governance in Taiwan.
Civil participation has consolidated democracy in Taiwan and has empowered its civil society, she wrote.
The achievements of Taiwan’s democratic movement proved that the idea that Western-style democracy does not go well with the culture of Chinese (華) people was a fallacy, Tsai added.