The government yesterday warned the public about the risk of visiting Hong Kong after the Standing Committee of China’s National People’s Congress passed national security legislation for the territory, while President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) said she was disappointed about the law.
The security legislation imposed on Hong Kong sets the stage for the most radical changes to the former British colony’s way of life since it returned to Chinese rule 23 years ago.
The new law would “severely impact” freedom, democracy and human rights in Hong Kong, the Executive Yuan said in a statement, adding that Taiwan would continue to offer help to Hong Kong people.
“The move severely impacts Hong Kong society’s freedom, human rights and stability. The government strongly condemns it and reiterates its support for the people of Hong Kong as they strive for democracy and freedom,” Executive Yuan spokesman Ting Yi-ming (丁怡銘) said.
Authorities in Beijing and Hong Kong have repeatedly said the legislation is aimed at a few “troublemakers” in Hong Kong and would not affect rights and freedoms, nor investor interests.
Nevertheless, Ting warned Taiwanese of “possible risks” when visiting Hong Kong in light of the legislation. He did not elaborate.
Months of anti-government, pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong last year won widespread sympathy in Taiwan, which has welcomed people from Hong Kong who have moved to the country and expects more to come.
Tsai, who in May became the first government leader anywhere to pledge measures to help Hong Kongers who leave due to what they see as tightening Chinese controls, said she was “very disappointed” by China’s imposition of the law.
“We hope Hong Kong people continue to adhere to the freedom, democracy and human rights that they cherish,” she told reporters.
Taiwan is set to launch today a dedicated office to help those thinking of fleeing Hong Kong. July 1 is also the anniversary of day Hong Kong returned to Chinese rule from the UK in 1997 with the promise of wide-ranging freedoms under a “one country, two systems” formula.
Tsai said the legislation proved that the formula “was not feasible” and that Taiwan would provide “concrete” humanitarian assistance to migrants from Hong Kong.
Beijing denies stifling Hong Kong’s freedoms and has condemned Tsai’s offer.
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