The Hong Kong Outlanders has officially registered as a civic group in Taiwan, its members said yesterday, adding that it would speak for Hong Kongers residing in Taiwan and urge scrutiny of democracy issues in the territory.
The group was established by Hong Kongers in Taiwan in 2019, when large-scale democracy protests gripped the territory. The protests were triggered by a now-scrapped bill that would have allowed extraditions to mainland China. Many Hong Kongers feared the bill would be used to extradite political dissidents.
To protect the Hong Kongers in the group, Hong Kong Outlanders has invited members of Taiwanese civic groups to serve as chair, board members and supervisors.
Photo: Fang Pin-chao, Taipei Times
Several Hong Kongers are to serve as executive directors, and would determine the group’s objectives, host events and handle other practical matters.
Chiang Min-yen (江旻諺), a researcher with the Economic Democracy Union and a vocal opponent of Beijing, has been named chairman of the group.
The timing of Hong Kong Outlanders’ registration is crucial and meaningful, Chiang told a news conference in Taipei.
Key members of the Hong Kong Alliance in Support of Patriotic Democratic Movements of China were last week accused of inciting others to subvert state power, the first time that the Hong Kong government has invoked the criminal charge following the implementation of the National Security Law in June last year, Chiang said.
Many civic groups in Hong Kong would be forced to dissolve, he said.
Hong Kong singer and democracy advocate Denise Ho (何韻詩) was forced to cancel seven concerts that were to be held at the Hong Kong Arts Center last week, after the center revoked her reservation of the venue on the grounds that the concerts might disrupt public order and threaten public safety, he added.
“Beijing has shown no sign of backing down from its persecution of civic groups and democracy advocates in Hong Kong, and it is unlikely that we will see a turning point on this matter in the years to come. As such, the government and people of Taiwan should start planning for the long term by changing current systems or regulations involving Hong Kong, blocking Chinese investments disguised as coming from the territory and helping Hong Kongers assimilate into Taiwanese society,” Chiang said.
Taiwan has since 2019 implemented some measures in support of Hong Kongers, such as establishing the Taiwan-Hong Hong Services and Exchanges Office, but they are limited to short-term, humanitarian assistance, he said.
Taiwan’s immigration policy does not allow Hong Kongers to obtain national identification cards, even if they have worked and lived in the nation all their lives, he added.
“Such a policy goes against the principle of supporting Hong Kongers and giving them an opportunity to put down roots in Taiwan,” Chiang said.
“Supporting Hong Kongers would allow them to join us [Taiwan] in our fight against China, and on this moral basis we can rally other democratic nations behind us in countering the threat from Beijing,” he said.
One of the group’s executive directors, who identified himself as “Oscar,” said that the group aims to enhance its communication with the Taiwan-Hong Kong Services and Exchanges Office and the Taiwan Parliament Group for Hong Kong to help build a strong support network for Hong Kongers.
The group would host seminars on college campuses over the next six months to maintain public attention on the democracy movement and human rights issues in Hong Kong, he said.
The group said that it plans to hold an event on Oct. 1 with people advocating the rights of Uighurs and Tibetans, adding that details would be disclosed in the next two weeks.
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