A coalition of civic groups and students yesterday rallied separately outside Hong Kong’s representative office in Taipei to protest a controversial extradition bill in Hong Kong.
More than 30 advocates from more than 20 groups shouted: “Shame on you, Hong Kong government” and “Say no to the extradition bill” outside the Hong Kong Economic, Trade and Cultural Office.
Among the protesting groups were the Taiwan Association for Human Rights, Human Rights Watch, the Taiwan Citizen Front, Amnesty International and Taiwan March.
Photo: Peter Lo, Taipei Times
The protesters demanded that the Hong Kong government withdraw its proposed amendments to the extradition law, which would allow visitors in or passing through Hong Kong who are deemed “suspects” by the Chinese government to be sent to China for trial.
They also reiterated calls for the Taiwanese government to plan countermeasures to the bill.
If the legislation passes, the government should consider canceling the special legal status granted to Hong Kong officials and investors with Chinese ties to ensure Taiwan’s national security and lodge a complaint with Beijing, Taiwan Citizen Front founder Lai Chung-chiang (賴中強) said.
Photo: Screengrab from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ Twitter account
“We hope the countermeasures would only deal with Hong Kong officials and investors, and not affect the rights and interests of Hong Kongers traveling to and studying in Taiwan,” he said, urging all political parties and presidential candidates to state their stance on the bill.
Following the protest, about 200 Hong Kong students gathered outside the representative office for another rally.
One of the event organizers, Ho Wing-tung (何泳彤), a Hong Kong student at Chinese Culture University, said that the students walked out of class to show support for their compatriots on strike in Hong Kong.
“We understand that the protest might be useless, but we want the government to know that we will not do nothing,” she said.
While Hong Kong has never had democracy, Hong Kongers will fight to keep its rule of law, she added.
Later yesterday, the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) issued a statement saying that it has been paying close attention to protests against the extradition bill, and hopes the Hong Kong government and people would discuss the bill rationally and improve its legal basis.
Authorities should respond to the public’s calls with compassion so that the event could be concluded peacefully, it added.
Asked to comment on a rally in Kaohsiung to protest the extradition bill, Kaohsiung Mayor Han Kuo-yu (韓國瑜) did not respond.
Reporters raised the question five times as the KMT presidential hopeful inspected a construction site for a daycare center, but Han avoided eye contact and quickly walked away in silence.
Separately, Hon Hai Precision Industry Co chairman and KMT presidential hopeful Terry Gou (郭台銘) told reporters at a National Police Day event in New Taipei City that the protests in Hong Kong showed the “one country, two systems” arrangement has failed, especially in the eyes of young people.
Authorities have made many great mistakes in implementing “one country, two systems” in the past few years, he added.
Former New Taipei City mayor Eric Chu (朱立倫), another KMT presidential hopeful, said that he hopes the Hong Kong Legislative Council would respect public opinion and ensure human rights and rule of law are upheld.
“The ‘one country, two systems’ arrangement has never been an option for Taiwan and Taiwanese will not accept it,” he told reporters when asked to comment at a financial technology summit in Taipei.
Meanwhile, Minister of Foreign Affairs Joseph Wu (吳釗燮) yesterday voiced his support for the protest in Hong Kong on the Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ official Twitter account.
“I stand shoulder to shoulder with the hundreds of thousands in #HongKong fighting the extradition bill & for rule of law. Please know you are not alone. #Taiwan is with you! The will of the people will prevail!” Wu wrote.
Additional reportiing by Lin Chia-nan
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