The current unrest in Hong Kong should serve as a warning to Taiwan to beware of China’s “political and economic embrace,” the Formosan Association for Public Affairs (FAPA) said.
“We urge the people of Taiwan to resist the attempts of the current Kuomintang [KMT] government of President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) to move further with his rapprochement with China,” FAPA president Mark Kao (高龍榮) said.
FAPA, a Taiwanese-American grassroots organization with 54 chapters across the US, has also expressed its strong support for demonstrators in Hong Kong amid their struggle for democracy.
Kao said that FAPA “extends a hand in solidarity” to the Hong Kong protesters calling for more freedom, human rights and democracy.
“It is clear that Beijing’s promises of a ‘one country, two systems’ model for Hong Kong were empty promises and that Beijing is not honoring the commitments made in the 1984 Joint Declaration or the Basic Law,” Kao said.
He said that Beijing’s June 10 white paper and its Aug. 31 announcement that the candidates for Hong Kong’s chief executive election in 2017 must be approved by the central government show a “total disregard” for the basic principles of freedom and democracy.
“Even worse, when the people of Hong Kong took to the streets to peacefully express their views on these issues, they were met with riot police using tear gas and pepper spray — and that’s unconscionable,” Kao said.
What is happening in Hong Kong, he said, shows that closer ties with China would be detrimental for Taiwan’s future as a free and democratic nation.
Kao said that he supported the words of US Congressional Committee on Foreign Affairs subcommittee on Asia chairman Steve Cabot that Taiwan must be “very wary” when it comes to trusting China.
“We are seeing it now in Hong Kong,” Kao said. “Taiwan has to be very careful that they don’t get attracted into a situation that might seem like it is a good thing up front, but once you get involved with China you may find that you can’t get yourself out of their clutches.”