Since the Chinese National People’s Congress Standing Committee passed the Hong Kong National Security Law on June 30 last year and it came into force in the territory that same day, merely campaigning for Hong Kong’s prior democracy and freedoms can result in being arrested for “inciting subversion of state power.”
After the COVID-19 pandemic ended mass protests against a proposed legal amendment that would have made it possible for Hong Kongers to be extradited to China, there have been numerous acts of retribution against democracy advocates.
In such a tense and fearful atmosphere, Hong Kong residents can face severe penalties under the National Security Law just for celebrating the Republic of China’s (ROC) Double Ten National Day.
The Sing Tao Daily on Thursday last week reported that Hong Kong Secretary for Security Chris Tang (鄧炳強) warned the public not to engage in Double Ten activities aimed at “separating Taiwan from China,” or the authorities would strictly enforce the National Security Law.
Even celebrating the ROC’s National Day would seem to contravene the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) dogma with regard to Taiwanese independence. This is reminiscent of the incident involving Taiwanese actress Janine Chang (張鈞甯), who was labeled a Taiwanese independence supporter for having mentioned the ROC in her master’s degree thesis and was subject to a storm of critical comments online.
During debates in the buildup to the Chinese Nationalist Party’s (KMT) chairperson election, which took place on Sept. 25, all four candidates stated that they would defend the ROC.
Considering that the CCP regards celebrating the ROC’s National Day by Hong Kong residents as a secessionist activity, would KMT Chairman Eric Chu (朱立倫) dare to speak out loudly and clearly for the ROC?
Would Chu dare to insist that the so-called “1992 consensus” includes not just “one China,” but also “each side having its own interpretation of what China means”?
In the eyes of the KMT, is the People’s Republic of China or the ROC China’s rightful regime?
Chu cannot dodge this question.
Continued vagueness on the question will obviously not win the trust of Taiwanese and if Chu thinks that he can speak up for the ROC without upsetting the CCP, he will find that there is no longer room for vagueness.
The CCP views anything other than annexation as Taiwan independence. Given this, will the KMT continue shackling itself with the ROC — which is a type of Taiwanese independence — while still pretending to be against Taiwanese independence?
As the KMT will be labeled as pro-independence no matter what it does — and given that it has no chance of defeating the CCP so that it could regain the right to govern China — the party will not get anywhere by continuing to advocate for the ROC.
In such a dead-end situation, the KMT might as well give up on its unrealistic “Chinese dream” and concentrate on thinking about how to achieve independence for Taiwan.
Pan Kuan took part in the 2014 Sunflower movement.
Translated by Julian Clegg
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