The legislative caucuses of three parties yesterday reiterated calls to amend a law governing relations with Hong Kong to elucidate steps the government could take to help protesters there.
The Taiwan People’s Party (TPP), the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) and the New Power Party (NPP) said that they have separately created draft amendments to Article 18 of the Act Governing Relations with Hong Kong and Macau (香港澳門關係條例).
The article requires the government to aid Hong Kongers who face political persecution, but does not specify a specific course of action.
Photo: Lin Liang-sheng, Taipei Times
The KMT’s proposal, which would create a way for Hong Kongers with criminal records who are believed to be victims of political persecution to be allowed to enter Taiwan, was submitted by KMT Legislator Charles Chen (陳以信).
Individuals with criminal records would normally be required to apply for special permission to enter Taiwan, and entry without permission is punishable by up to three years in prison and a fine of up to NT$90,000, according to Article 74 of the Immigration Act (入出國及移民法).
The KMT’s amendment would exclude Hong Kongers from Article 74.
It was necessary for the amendment to address entry into Taiwan, as this is not covered by the laws governing Hong Kong, Chen said, adding that the change must be stipulated so that Taiwan can effectively provide emergency help to Hong Kongers.
The proposal would be ready for review by Friday at the earliest, he said.
Chen said he still hopes that full democracy would be implemented in Hong Kong.
Separately, NPP caucus whip Chiu Hsien-chih (邱顯智) said that his party finished its proposed amendment at the end of last month and was waiting for the draft to be reviewed.
An amendment is crucial, as the situation in Hong Kong is becoming “increasingly dangerous,” and there will likely be a spike in the number of people seeking help from Taiwan, Chiu said.
Hong Kongers and people from Macau who, because of their political views, expressions or the community they belong to, come under threat in the territories should be offered political protection, he said, adding that the NPP draft says that they would be eligible to apply for protection through rules governing political asylum seekers.
Chiu called on Legislative Speaker You Si-kun (游錫堃) to convene a cross-party caucus meeting as soon as possible to discuss the NPP proposal and to issue a joint statement denouncing the Chinese Communist Party’s planned implementation of a national security law in Hong Kong.
Meanwhile, TPP caucus whip Lai Hsiang-ling (賴香伶) said that the TPP completed a proposal on May 15 and that it had already passed one reading.
The TPP supports the democracy movement in Hong Kong, Lai said.
Echoing statements from the other parties, she said an amendment was urgently needed to bolster the government’s efforts to help protesters in Hong Kong.
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