Tue, Sep 30, 2014 - Page 3 News List

TAIWAN RESPONDS: Minister urges Beijing to employ ‘civilized manner’

Staff writer, with CNA

Minister of Culture Lung Ying-tai (龍應台) yesterday urged Beijing to win the hearts and minds of people on both sides of the Taiwan Strait in a civil manner, following a night of violent confrontations between pro-democracy protesters and police in Hong Kong that lasted into yesterday.

Speaking on the sidelines of a cultural event in Taipei, Lung — a renowned essayist and cultural critic in the Chinese-language community before she was appointed to her government post in 2012 — threw her support behind the protesters.

The right to vote and stand for election and the right to live in an open society are not only the goals of Hong Kongers, but of Taiwanese and Chinese, as well, Lung said.

“If the rise of China is limited to the rise of its economic power, political power and military power, and is not accompanied by the rise of its civilization, I believe it will be very difficult for Beijing to win the hearts and minds of the people in Hong Kong and Taiwan,” said Lung, who lived, wrote and taught in Hong Kong for nine years.

She expressed hope that the Beijing government would hear the Hong Kongers’ voice and not mistake their demonstrations as “the longings and pursuits of only a handful of people.”

“Beijing has to win the hearts and minds of the people with civility,” she said.

The minister urged Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平) to choose civility to show he is a leader with vision and decisiveness.

It is not the first time that Lung has urged a Chinese leader to treat people with civility.

In 2006, she wrote an open letter titled “Please Use Civilization to Persuade Me” to then-Chinese president Hu Jintao (胡錦濤) following the temporary publication suspension of Freezing Point, a Chinese-language news journal that is critical of the Chinese Communist Party and for which Lung was a regular columnist.

Lung’s recent remarks came a day after clashes with police left more than 40 people injured in Hong Kong.

Hong Kong police used tear gas and pepper spray to try to disperse thousands of protesters who gathered at Hong Kong Government headquarters to demand democratic reforms.

Separately yesterday, Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Taipei mayoral candidate Sean Lien (連勝文) said that implementing democratic elections in Hong Kong is in the interests of both Hong Kong and China.

Lien said that he had lived in Hong Kong for 10 years and has deep affection for the territory.

Hong Kong is a place where people have cultivated citizen core competencies, law-abiding spirits, and high education, and where information is made transparent and accessible, which makes conditions ripe for democracy, Lien said.

Additional reporting by Shih Hsiu-chuan

Comments will be moderated. Keep comments relevant to the article. Remarks containing abusive and obscene language, personal attacks of any kind or promotion will be removed and the user banned. Final decision will be at the discretion of the Taipei Times.

TOP top