Fri, Jan 18, 2019 - Page 3 News List

Taiwan should cherish democracy, HK advocate says

Staff writer, with CNA

Former Hong Kong legislator Raymond Wong, second right, speaks at a conference in Taipei on Wednesday.

Photo: Chung Li-hua, Taipei Times

Taiwan should stick to democracy and unity in the face of increasing pressure from China, former Hong Kong Legislative Council member Raymond Wong (黃毓民) said in Taipei on Wednesday.

“The one country, two systems formula applied to Hong Kong has become a hellish nightmare for the territory, and Taiwanese, regardless of their political affiliation must work together to counter China’s threat,” Wong told a seminar sponsored by the Friends of Hong Kong and Macau Association.

The “one country, two systems” framework, proposed by former Chinese leader Deng Xiaoping (鄧小平), included a promise to grant Hong Kong a high degree of autonomy until at least 2047.

Any formula designed for Taiwan’s unification with China that lacks popular support in Taiwan would be impossible to implement, as the nation is a full-blown and diverse democracy with freedom of expression, he said.

As Taiwanese are firmly opposed to China’s “one country, two systems” scheme, political parties do not need to overreact to the pro-unification rhetoric voiced by Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平) or rehash the independence-unification dispute to a point that divides the nation, he said.

Johnny Lau (劉銳紹), a veteran Hong Kong political commentator, said that after pro-democracy protests on July 1, 2003 — the largest in Hong Kong since the 1997 handover — China realized that, as an autocratic regime, it could not grant full autonomy to the territory.

Even if Deng were to come back to life, he would not be able to carry out his promise to grant Hong Kong a high degree of autonomy under the “one country, two systems” model, Lau said.

Therefore, Taiwanese need to pay close attention to the changes in Hong Kong and explore possible responses to similar circumstances, he said.

As the US-China trade dispute lingers, it remains unclear whether China will seek to exert greater pressure on Taiwan or hold back, he said.

In a speech on Jan. 2, Xi proposed exploring a version of the “one country, two systems” model for Taiwan, which he said would ensure that the Taiwanese social system, way of life, property rights, religious freedom and legal rights would be fully respected and protected.

However, several opinion polls conducted after the speech found that about 80 percent of Taiwanese were opposed to the “one country, two systems” formula.

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