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Hong Kong localism and independence

Pro-independence Taiwanese lawmakers launch support group for Hong Kong democracy

Localist legislator Nathan Law welcomes support against ‘suppression of democracy and freedom from the same regime’

PUBLISHED : Monday, 12 June, 2017, 4:57pm
UPDATED : Monday, 12 June, 2017, 11:32pm

Some 18 pro-independence Taiwanese lawmakers have set up a platform to support Hong Kong’s democratic development and foster closer ties with pan-democratic and localist legislators.

Founded by New Power Party’s chief Huang Kuo-chang, who led protests against greater trade links with mainland China three years ago, it comprises his party colleagues and legislators from the ruling Democratic Progressive Party.

“The Beijing government has continuously suppressed Hong Kong’s fight for democracy, undermining human rights and freedom in Hong Kong,” Huang said on Monday as he announced the setting up of the Taiwan Congressional Hong Kong Caucus at the Legislative Yuan in Taipei.

Hong Kong and Taiwan lawmakers deny colluding over political independence at conference besieged by protests

Huang hoped the platform would support Hong Kong’s democratic fight and facilitate exchanges between legislators on policies such as youth and town planning as the city marked the 20th anniversary of its sovereignty changeover to Beijing.

DPP legislator Wang Ting-Yu said: “Only Hong Kong people can change Hong Kong … but we can support by sharing Taiwan’s experiences and history.”

He said he hoped Hongkongers could freely advocate the city’s independence or unity with China.

Three Hong Kong lawmakers – Raymond Chan Chi-chuen, Nathan Law Kwun-chun and Eddie Chu Hoi-dick – attended a press conference to announce the move, along with former student leaders of the 2014 Occupy movement, Joshua Wong Chi-fung and Alex Chow Yong-kang.

Law said the city needed international support and he was grateful to form the alliance in Taiwan.

“We face the suppression of democracy and freedom from the same regime. Taiwan and Hong Kong should support each other,” Law said.

Wong stressed that they were not advocating Hong Kong independence.

“We just hope to work with different parties who share the same values of democracy and freedom with us,” he said.

An attempt made by Taiwan’s independence forces to collude with Hong Kong’s independence advocates
How the Taiwan Affairs Office in Beijing reacted to the panel meeting in January

In January, Law, Wong and Chu were invited by New Power Party to attend a panel discussion on how pro-democracy parties in Hong Kong and Taiwan could learn from each other.

A spokesman for the Taiwan Affairs Office, the government body in Beijing that deals with Taiwan, described that event as “an attempt made by Taiwan’s independence forces to collude with Hong Kong’s independence advocates”.

He warned that such actions were “destined to fail” and those involved would get “their heads broken and covered with blood”.

There are 117 legislators in Taiwan’s Legislative Yuan. The New Power Party is the rising political force that emerged from the student-led Sunflower Movement in 2014 – a protest that put the brakes on a trade pact with mainland China.

Meanwhile, Huang confirmed that human right activists in Taiwan were assisting an 18-year-old Hong Kong woman who allegedly sought asylum in Taiwan after jumping bail in Hong Kong, where she was charged over a riot in Mong Kok last year.

The Taiwan National Immigration Agency confirmed on Saturday that the teenager had overstayed her visa by more than four months. The Mainland Affairs Council in Taiwan reiterated on Monday that it had not received a request for asylum.