Taiwanese in Hong Kong rally in solidarity with Taipei's anti-trade-pact protests

PUBLISHED : Monday, 31 March, 2014, 5:19am
UPDATED : Monday, 31 March, 2014, 7:02am

Scores of Taiwanese took to the streets of Hong Kong yesterday in solidarity with the 500,000 demonstrators outside President Ma Ying-jeou's office in Taipei who are opposing a trade pact with Beijing.

The crowds in Hong Kong - also made up of hundreds of locals and university students - wore black and marched from Causeway Bay to Central. Organisers put the turnout at 1,000 while police estimated 800 came.

The marchers warned against further integration between Taiwan and the mainland through the services trade pact - "which is what is happening in Hong Kong", said one participant, Ted Cheng Keng-liang, a PhD candidate at Lingnan University.

Cheng cited as an example the 2003 Mainland and Hong Kong Closer Economic Partnership Arrangement (CEPA). He said this opened the mainland market to Hong Kong movies and publications but also made them "subject to mainland censorship".

Many Hong Kong students said only through Taiwan-Hong Kong unity could democracy survive alongside the "undemocratic" mainland government.

Justin Hsu, who came with his wife and child, said it was his duty as a Taiwanese resident to protest: "Hong Kong is part of China, but Taiwan is not. This is a stance we need to stand firm on."

Rally organiser Brandy Wu Tai-ju, a Taiwanese student at the Hong Kong Institute of Education, said yesterday's march aimed to boost morale and condemn police force against protesters in Taipei.

Hong Kong was among 45 cities in 16 countries that organised events yesterday to oppose the trade pact.