Hongkongers show support for Taiwanese student protesters

Locals join Taipei sit-in and donate funds in solidarity with student action over trade pact

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 22 March, 2014, 4:28am
UPDATED : Saturday, 22 March, 2014, 8:48am

Hongkongers are showing their support for students occupying the Taiwanese parliament in a protest against a cross-strait trade pact.

Some have flown to Taipei to join the sit-in, while lawmaker "Long Hair" Leung Kwok-hung led 30 protesters to Taipei's representative office in Admiralty yesterday morning.

Since Tuesday, about 200 students have occupied Taipei's Legislative Yuan in protest over a cross-strait service trade agreement.

They say the trade pact will give Beijing too much economic influence over the self-governing island that the former regards as one of its provinces.

Members of the League of Social Democrats, including Leung, together with another group, Socialist Action, marched to the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in Hong Kong to deliver a letter of protest.

"Hongkongers are inspired by [the] militant protest," activist Jaco Lam Tze-lung said.

"The Taiwanese government made the deal in [a secretive way]. It wants to pass the trade pact without it being noticed by the people."

The Hong Kong protesters called on Taiwanese President Ma Ying-jeou to "immediately accept the students' demands, conduct open dialogue and consultations with the people, and abandon the service trade agreement".

Another Hong Kong activist raised more than HK$3,000 on her Facebook page in less than a day to fund her trip to Taipei to join the protest.

Socialist Action's Sally Tang Mei-ching landed in Taipei at 5pm yesterday to take part in the demonstration outside the Taiwanese parliament.

"Hong Kong is facing the same situation, in which Beijing is trying to use economic power to control the city and repress democratic rights," Tang said. "That is the reason I want to send support from Hong Kong."

And nine Taiwanese students who are studying in Hong Kong were sponsored by their Hong Kong friends to travel to Taipei and lend their support to the protest.

Yesterday, the nine were seen holding a placard outside the parliament, saying they were students from Chinese University.

Chiang Tieh-chih, a Taiwan-born writer who now lives in Hong Kong, is returning to Taiwan today to join the protest.

"I want to go back to participate in history," Chiang said.

"All these protesters are my friends and I will be going back to join them in solidarity."

Hong Kong-born singer Mandy Chiang, who migrated to the island years ago, was also spotted during the demonstration.