Mon, Aug 05, 2019 - Page 3 News List

PRC should reflect before acting: Ko

HONG KONG:China’s leadership should learn from history and keep a clear head when mulling solutions for ending the protests in the territory, Taipei’s mayor said

By Lee I-chia  /  Staff reporter

Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je, right, yesterday offers incense at Tiande Temple in New Taipei City’s Banciao District.

Photo: CNA

China should keep a clear head and reflect on history, including the lessons from the 1989 Tiananmen Square Massacre, in its handling of the ongoing protests in Hong Kong, Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) said yesterday in response to reporters requests’ for comment.

Rumors have been spreading about the Chinese government sending in more Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) troops to put down protests by force.

Such fears were fueled last week by the release of a video by the PLA garrison in Hong Kong, showing footage of its “anti-riot” exercises, as well as a remark by the garrison commander on Wednesday about being determined to protect national sovereignty, security, stability and the prosperity of Hong Kong.

The Beijing government must seriously face up to the issues roiling the territory, which is like the situation in Taiwan in 2013 and 2014, because if the public discontent is not properly handled, the problem will not be solved, and demonstrations will continue to and expand into new areas, Ko said.

“Taiwan, being the most advanced Chinese society, offers our experiences for China’s reference,” he said.

“Although they sometimes laugh that our lawmakers fight a lot [inside the Legislative Yuan], but Taiwan’s democratic development over the past three decades was achieved at a relatively lower social cost,” the mayor said.

South Korea’s 1980 Gwangju Democratization Movement — “a modern version of Taiwan’s 228 Massacre — even involved bombs, so Taiwan’s social cost was lower, and although the nation’s democracy is not yet 100 percent, it is generally good,” Ko said.

As for the rumors that the PLA might be deployed to put down the protests, “high-ranking Chinese officials should have the ability to learn from reflecting on history, including the experiences in Taiwan and the Tiananmen Square Massacre, and keep a clear head when thinking about the solutions for Hong Kong,” he said.

“A strong Taiwan can provide more protection to Hong Kong,” because if China thinks Taiwan can be easily defeated, it would not hold back on taking strong measures when tackling Hong Kong’s issues, he said, something he has talked about before.

In related news, Ko said he would run his new political party in “economical ways.”

Amid widespread speculation over a possible presidential run next year, Ko on Thursday announced he had registered a new party, the Chinese-language name (台灣民眾黨) of which roughly translates to the “Taiwan people’s party.”

The party’s formal establishment is scheduled for tomorrow, and yesterday Ko said that it would run candidates in next year’s legislative elections.

The Democratic Progressive Party and the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) have already spent hundreds of millions of New Taiwan dollars on the Jan. 11 presidential election.

“Taiwan cannot improve if a presidential candidate has to spend NT$100 million [US$3.2 million] on an election,” Ko said, adding that he hopes to change the political culture by running elections campaigns that do not cost a lot.

Additional reporting by CNA

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