President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) yesterday urged Beijing to “listen to the voices of Hong Kong people” and respond to their appeals for universal suffrage “in a peaceful manner, along with a cautious attitude,” while calling on Hong Kong residents to express their opinions peacefully and rationally.
Ma was addressing members of the World Taiwanese Chambers of Commerce in Taipei yesterday when he delivered a brief remark about the escalation of protests in Hong Kong against Beijing’s proposal to control the territory’s chief executive election in 2017 and the strong response by police to disperse the crowds.
“Popular elections have been held in Taiwan for a long time. Whenever there has been an election, there have been friends from Hong Kong to observe the polls. We fully understand and support their demand for universal suffrage,” Ma said.
As Hong Kong is one of the world’s important financial centers, any political turmoil in the territory would send shock waves through Asia and even the world, Ma said.
Ma then urged both China and Hong Kongers to keep the peace: “We do not want to see any conflicts [between police and protesters].”
“It’s everyone’s hope that Hong Kong will move toward democracy gradually, and we believe that it would be a win-win situation for both Hong Kong and mainland China if universal suffrage is realized in the future,” Ma said.
Separately, Premier Jiang Yi-huah (江宜樺) said that Taiwan has “a high degree of support” for the fight by Hong Kongers for the right to elect their own leader.
“The Republic of China government welcomes the push toward universal suffrage,” Jiang told lawmakers at the Legislative Yuan in Taipei. “As to the design and date of the election, it will be up to the government and people of Hong Kong to decide through rational dialogue.”
He said the government is watching the Hong Kong protests closely and hopes that a resolution can be reached peacefully.
He also confirmed that Taipei has conveyed its stance on the issue to Beijing, and has called on Beijing and the Hong Kong authorities to respect Hong Kongers’ desire for democracy, which he said is an irreversible trend around the world.
Additional reporting by CNA
BLUE WAVE: The KMT’s Chiang Wan-an defeated the DPP’s Chen Shih-chung and is to become Taipei mayor, while President Tsai Ing-wen stepped down as DPP chairperson after many of the party’s candidates, handpicked by the leadership, performed poorly The Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) yesterday flipped key mayoral seats in Taipei, Taoyuan and Keelung, and won control of 13 out of 22 cities and counties in the nine-in-one local elections. President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) last night resigned as Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) chairperson over a poor showing by the party’s candidates, who were handpicked by the DPP leadership rather than chosen through primaries. The Taiwan People’s Party (TPP) won its first high-profile race with Hsinchu mayoral candidate Ann Kao (高虹安) defeating Shen Hui-hung (沈慧虹) of the DPP with 45.02 percent of the vote to Shen’s 35.68 percent. Voters were choosing more than
CAUTION: Wearing a mask in crowded places and for people with chronic illnesses or allergies can help prevent COVID-19 and other infectious diseases, the CECC said The mask mandate for outdoor settings is to lifted on Thursday, and the weekly cap on international inbound travelers is to be removed on Dec. 10, the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) said at its regular news conference yesterday. The center also announced that starting from Friday, children aged five to 11 can receive a COVID-19 vaccine booster, and that rules for visiting hospital patients are to be partially eased from Dec. 10. While wearing a mask will no longer be mandatory outdoors, Deputy Minister of Health and Welfare Victor Wang (王必勝) reminded the public that it would still be required
DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE: China might impose a blockade, conduct limited force operations, use an air and missile campaign, or resort to an invasion, the report said The US Department of Defense has identified four possible military courses of action that China could take against Taiwan, but did not offer any guess on when Beijing might be ready to act. In an annual report to the US Congress released on Tuesday titled Military and Security Developments Involving the People’s Republic of China 2022, the department gave a broad overview of China’s military capabilities, strategy, ambitions and intentions. The report devoted significant space to developments related to Taiwan, against which it said China had intensified diplomatic, economic, political and military pressure last year. For example, the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA)
ANALYSIS: The local elections showed that the KMT is a competitive player, but needs to work at changing its image regarding China, experts said The nine-in-one local election results would bolster the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT), but are unlikely to have a major effect on the 2024 presidential election, when cross-strait issues are back in focus, political commentators said. In Saturday’s elections, the KMT won 13 of the 21 cities and counties up for grabs, including four of the country’s six biggest metropolitan areas, where nearly 70 percent of the population lives. The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) lost three of the seven cities and counties it held, although it gained Penghu County. Its poor results prompted President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) to announce her resignation as party