Fri, Aug 25, 2017 - Page 3 News List

Government should back HK democracy: advocates

By Abraham Gerber  /  Staff reporter

Sunflower movement leader Lin Fei-fan, center, former secretary-general of the Hong Kong Federation of Students Chan Shu-fai, fourth right, Taiwan Association for Human Rights vice secretary-general Shih Yi-hsiang, third right, and other human rights advocates yesterday attend a news conference in Taipei to show support for Hong Kong democracy advocates.

Photo: Lu Yi-shuan, Taipei Times

The government should support Hong Kong’s democratic values following the imprisonment of several prominent democracy advocates in the territory, Taiwanese human rights advocates and civic groups said yesterday.

“The government should make a statement and defend democratic values in Hong Kong, as they have come under increasing pressure,” Sunflower movement leader Lin Fei-fan (林飛帆) said.

Lin urged Taiwanese to join a campaign launched by the Taiwan Association for Human Rights to writer letters to the jailed Hong Kong democracy advocates.

“Even if there is nothing we can do, we hope that our support can reach them so they know that they have friends in Taiwan,” Lin said.

Joshua Wong (黃之鋒), Alex Chow (周永康) and Nathan Law (羅冠聰) earlier this month were sentenced to six to eight months in prison for unlawful assembly linked to 2014’s “Umbrella movement,” while about 100 other cases are in judicial review, according to a list provided by the association.

The three have maintained ties with Taiwanese civic campaigners and participated in public events with the New Power Party (NPP).

“We are concerned that they could end up like Chinese dissidents by repeatedly being jailed or having their jail terms extended, because there are other charges which are still under review,” Lin said, adding that the judicial rulings should “set off alarm bells” because they represent a “realization of the cooperation across the three powers.”

He said the phrase was used by Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平) during a 2008 visit to Hong Kong, when he was a member of the Chinese Communist Party’s Politburo Standing Committee.

“We are starting to see the independent judiciary, which protected Hong Kong in the past, slowly disintegrate as the government uses the law to control speech and restrict the free political space,” said Chan Shu-fai (陳樹暉), a former secretary-general of the Hong Kong Federation of Students.

A similar letter-writing campaign to Wong, Chow and Law is under way in Hong Kong, Chan said.

Because of different prison correspondence rules, it is unclear whether the letters can be delivered immediately, but any delayed correspondence will be collected and forwarded to the prisoners after their release, he said.

Hong Kong democracy advocates’ legal problems are mostly caused by the continuation of British colonial law, which severeky restricted demonstrations after riots in 1967, Chan said.

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