The Taiwan People’s Party (TPP) yesterday proposed changing the law to provide protection for those seeking political asylum.
China at the opening of the National People’s Congress in Beijing on Thursday introduced a draft security law for Hong Kong to ban treason, subversion and sedition, with a review expected next week.
TPP caucus whip Jang Chyi-lu (張其祿) said that the party is concerned about democracy advocates in Hong Kong and has taken action to support them.
The party has proposed an amendment to Article 18 of the Act Governing Relations with Hong Kong and Macau (香港澳門關係條例), which stipulates that the government can offer help to residents of Hong Kong and Macau whose security and freedom are endangered due to political factors, Jang said.
However, the article does not clarify what “emergency” and “help” mean, nor is it clear whether people would be granted the right to stay in Taiwan, he said, adding that the Executive Yuan has not formulated supplementary regulations to protect the rights of asylum seekers or review their applications.
The TPP proposal says that people can apply for asylum if they leave Hong Kong or Macau due to war or for reasons related to race, religion, sexual orientation or political opinion, and cannot seek protection in Hong Kong or Macau, or do not want to return there for fear of persecution.
After receiving an application, authorities would convene a review meeting with experts, academics and unbiased members of the public, the TPP draft says.
At least one-third of the committee members should be members of a civic group who have experience promoting human rights, it says.
Jang urged the legislature’s Internal Administration Committee to schedule a meeting to review the draft soon, as this legislative session is to end this month.
If it is reviewed this session, there is a chance that the bill might be passed in a provisional legislative session scheduled to start next month, he said.
Jang called on the Democratic Progressive Party caucus or the Executive Yuan to propose amendments to show that Taiwan wants to help those who are targets of political persecution in Hong Kong and Macau.
Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Chen Yu-jen (陳玉珍), convener of the legislative committee, said that she had not received the TPP’s proposal.
If the TPP caucus shows why its proposal is important, she does not rule out changing the committee’s agenda next week and scheduling a review, Chen said.
Separately yesterday, New Power Party (NPP) Chairman Hsu Yung-ming (徐永明) said that Beijing’s proposed security law means it has renounced its promise to maintain “one country, two systems” in Hong Kong.
Taiwan cannot be indifferent to the matter, as it is a warning to Taiwan from Beijing, Hsu said.
The Legislative Yuan should review a refugee bill to complete the nation’s support for Hong Kong democracy advocates and prepare a response for refugee issues, he said.
The DPP administration should clarify its strategy and President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) should condemn Beijing’s treatment of Hong Kong, he said.
Hong Kong advocacy groups have repeatedly called on Taiwan to implement a refugee law to allow Hong Kongers to seek asylum here.
On Dec. 5 last year, Tsai said that it was unnecessary to enact a refugee law, as the Act Governing Relations with Hong Kong and Macau is adequate.
Additional reporting by Su Chin-feng
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