Taiwan is the “last fortress” for Hong Kong residents in the face of Chinese oppression, Causeway Bay Books (銅鑼灣書店) manager Lam Wing-kei (林榮基) said yesterday, calling on fellow Hong Kongers to escape from the territory and join the resistance “from the outside.”
Lam made the remarks at the launch of his bookstore in Taipei when asked by reporters whether he sees in Hong Kong the same hope that he said he saw in Taiwan.
Lam — who was manager of Hong Kong’s Causeway Bay Books, which was founded in 1994 and sold work critical of Chinese leaders — fled to Taiwan in April last year amid fears of persecution by Beijing.
Photo: Fang Pin-chao, Taipei Times
The Taipei bookstore opened yesterday after raising nearly NT$6 million (US$199,468) through a crowdfunding Web site from September to November last year.
It is difficult to compare Hong Kong to Taiwan, as unlike Taiwanese, Hong Kongers are not protected by a military, Lam said.
“In a place that has fallen victim to oppression and where personal safety is a concern, young Hong Kongers should seriously consider leaving that dangerous place and rebel from the outside,” he said.
Photo: Fang Pin-chao, Taipei Times
“For example, I opened a bookstore [outside of Hong Kong] as a way of rebelling,” he added.
“A rebellion does not stop after three, five or 10 years,” Lam said. “We should plan for the long haul.”
Asked whether he thought it was lenient to allow bail for three people suspected of splashing red paint on him, Lam said that Taiwan is still the last refuge for Hong Kongers.
“If Hong Kongers encountered the same oppression as I have, at least they would still have a place to go — Taiwan,” he said, thanking the government for all that it has done to shelter him and his friends who would otherwise not be safe in Hong Kong.
Asked if he supported the New Power Party’s call to amend Article 18 of the Act Governing Relations with Hong Kong and Macau (香港澳門關係條例) to officially give Hong Kongers the ability to seek political asylum in Taiwan, Legislative Speaker You Si-kun (游錫堃), who attended the store’s opening, said that he supports any legislation that would make Taiwan a fairer and more just, liberal and democratic nation that could further advance human rights.
Secluded on the 10th floor of an unassuming office building on Nanjing W Road in Taipei’s Zhongshan District (中山), the new iteration of Causeway Bay Books features cozy colors, a clean layout and a brightly lit reading area that belies the underwhelming facade of the building housing it.
Hsu Shih-hsun (徐仕勛) and Wang Tsung-fan (王宗凡), 16, said that they traveled from Taoyuan to visit the bookstore, where they hoped to purchase books that are banned in Hong Kong.
Hsu said that he was moved to see Lam have the courage to reopen the bookstore after being persecuted by the Chinese government and terrorized by alleged gangsters, adding that Lam’s decision to settle in Taiwan made him feel proud to be Taiwanese.
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