Hong Kong students join Taiwan sit-in
Cries of 'Occupy Central! Support Hong Kong!' echo round Taipei's Legislative Yuan yesterday
Taiwanese students who have been occupying their legislature since last Tuesday extended their support to Hong Kong's Occupy Central movement, as a group of Hong Kong students joined their ninth day of protest yesterday to show solidarity between two sides in the fight for democracy.
"Occupy Central! Support Hong Kong!", "Support Hong Kong! Support Taiwan!" chanted the 200 or so Taiwanese students in the chamber of the Legislative Yuan after they listened to the visiting Hongkongers' speeches.
Joining the "Occupy Legislature" sit-in were five students from Chinese and City universities and a Hongkonger working in Taiwan. Four of the students arrived in Taipei on Tuesday night to support the student protest against a controversial free-trade pact with the mainland.
"In Hong Kong, we see the mainland's control over the economy has been on the rise … That's why I decided to come to Taiwan to support the student movement," said Chan Man-hei, a Chinese University science student.
Lam Wing-man, who studies public administration at City University, was among the estimated 150 people injured when police forcefully evicted demonstrators from the Executive Yuan.
Showing a bruised arm, she said: "They hit me on the head with riot shields, grabbed my limbs, twisted my arms and pulled me to the ground … I was thrown down a staircase by three or four male police officers."
The group handed over two banners to Taiwan students, with the slogan "Against Violence, Support Taiwan", and hundreds of signatures collected from Hong Kong university students.
Lin Fei-fan, a leader of the Taiwan student movement, said students from Taiwan and Hong Kong could learn from each other's experiences of non-violent struggle. "We both face pressure from [the mainland]. I support Occupy Central," he said.
Wang Xin-yun, from National Chung Hsing University, Taichung, said he would go to Hong Kong to join the Occupy Central protest - an occupation of the business district planned in the event the government proposal for universal suffrage in 2017 is deemed unacceptable. Wang added: "I fear Taiwan will become another Hong Kong."
Not all the Hong Kong students joining the Taipei sit-in were as sure that they would be joining any Occupy Central protest. Chan and City University student Wong Chi-lap said they would wait to see how the political reform issue progressed, while Lam vowed to participate.