New Power Party (NPP) legislators and a coalition of civic groups yesterday urged the government to cancel the special legal status granted to Hong Kong officials and investors with Chinese ties amid growing concerns over a Hong Kong extradition bill.
The bill, proposed by the Hong Kong Government to allow extradition to any jurisdiction including mainland China, is a Chinese Communist Party attempt to “Sinicize” the territory and use it as a gateway to infiltrate other nations, the NPP legislative caucus said in a joint statement.
If passed, anyone passing through Hong Kong could be sent to the mainland for trial and subject to China’s notoriously opaque judicial system, it said.
Photo courtesy of Ho Wing-tung
With the bill expected to pass a second reading at the Hong Kong Legislative Council today, the administration of President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) should openly oppose the legislation, provide reports on its possible effects on Taiwan and propose the necessary responses, the statement said.
Specifically, the reports and proposed responses should consider the legislation’s effect on Taiwanese visiting Hong Kong, Taiwan’s relations with the territory and how it could be used to promote unification across the Taiwan Strait, it said.
The government should also consider adjusting the special status granted to Hong Kong, and extend cross-strait restrictions and review mechanisms related to Hong Kong officials and investors with strong ties to China, it said.
Furthermore, the government should work to refine guidelines on offering political asylum to protect people from Hong Kong and other parts of China fleeing political persecution, it said.
As the Hong Kong Government appears determined to railroad through the bill, Tsai should immediately hold a news conference to oppose the bill, NPP caucus whip Hsu Yung-ming (徐永明) wrote on Facebook.
“Do not let Hong Kong’s freedom get the death penalty,” he added.
The Taiwan Citizen Front, the Taiwan Association for Human Rights, the New School for Democracy, the Judicial Reform Foundation and other civic groups also issued a statement urging the government to plan its responses to the extradition law and adjust Hong Kong’s special legal status.
Hong Kong has been given special treatment in terms of lower tariffs, less investment restrictions and other privileges based on the supposition that it is different from China, being a relatively autonomous region that adheres to the rule of law, Taiwan Citizen Front founder Lai Chung-chiang (賴中強) said.
However, if the bill passes, it would call into question that supposition, requiring the government to rethink whether to continue applying the special treatment, he said.
“Taiwan and other nations should express to China that if it deprives Hong Kong of its autonomy, there would be no reason for us to treat the territory differently than other parts of China,” he said.
Separately, Hong Kong students in Taiwan have announced plans to walk out of classes today and rally outside the Hong Kong Economic, Trade and Cultural Office in Taipei in support of strikes in Hong Kong to oppose the extradition bill.
Organizers of the walkout said that they expect more than 300 students to join the rally.
According to the Ministry of Education, there are 7,691 Hong Kongers studying in Taiwan, 1,617 of them first-year students at universities and colleges.
Additional reporting by Wu Po-hsuan
A domestically developed “suicide drone,” also known as a loitering munition, would be tested and evaluated in July, and could enter mass production next year, Taiwan’s weapons developer said on Wednesday. The yet-to-be-named drone was among nine drone models unveiled by the National Chungshan Institute of Science and Technology (NCSIST) on Tuesday. The drone has been dubbed the “Taiwanese switchblade” by Chinese-language media, due to its similarity to the US-made AeroVironment Switchblade 300, which has been used by Ukraine in counterattacks during Russia’s invasion. It has a range of more than 10km, a flight time of more than 15 minutes, and an electro-optical
GOOD INFLUENCE: Kwan said his mother tutored him at home for a few years, saying that she had to protect his ‘creativity’ as his writing had suffered Director and coproducer of the Oscar-winning absurdist comedy-drama Everything Everywhere All at Once Daniel Kwan (關家永) on Sunday dedicated the movie to his Taiwanese mother, who he said supported his creativity growing up. “She is someone who sacrificed a lot for her kids,” Kwan, 35, said backstage at the Oscars. The movie, released early last year, received a commanding 11 nominations at the Academy Awards, and won seven, including Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actress, Best Supporting Actor, Best Supporting Actress, Best Original Screenplay and Best Film Editing. Kwan and Daniel Scheinert, with whom he also directed the 2016 fantasy film Swiss Army
A bipartisan US congressional delegation arrived in Taiwan yesterday on a two-day visit that is to include meetings with President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) and other senior government officials, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said. The delegation comprises Republican US representatives and Chairman of the Defense Appropriations Subcommittee Ken Calvert, Tom Cole, Dave Joyce and Mike Garcia, as well as Democratic US Representative Ed Case, the ministry said in a news release. Upon their arrival at Taipei International Airport (Songshan airport), the five representatives were welcomed by North American Affairs Department Director-General Douglas Hsu (徐佑典), it said. During their visit, they are to meet
The Taipei City Government on Wednesday introduced of a series of tourism promotions, including free sightseeing bus tours and hotel discounts, in a bid to boost the number of international visitors. From now until June 30, 10,000 free Taipei Sightseeing Bus tickets are to be made available to travelers who stay in designated hotels for two nights, cruise passengers and European visitors transiting for more than 15 hours, the Taipei Department of Information and Tourism said. Eligible tourists can ask for the free four-hour unlimited ride bus tickets by presenting their passports at the hotels they stay in or from the