Taiwan promises to help the people of Hong Kong after the emergence of new protests against the new proposed national security law from China.
President Tsai Ing-wen said that Taiwan will provide them “necessary assistance.” On her Facebook page, she described the new legislation as a serious threat to Hong Kong. She stressed that it will curtail the freedoms and judicial independence that Hong Kong enjoys.
Analysts believe this statement will likely infuriate China, which is constantly claiming Taiwan as part of its territory. An increasing number of pro-democracy protesters from Hong Kong is known to be flying to Taiwan.
On Sunday, protesters faced tear gas and water cannon dispersed by the Hong Kong police. Thousands of people gathered to express their disapproval of Beijing’s plan to implement a new national security law in Hong Kong.
The law was introduced during China’s National People’s Congress (NPC).
The NPC said it was “exercising the power (of) the constitution to establish and improve at the state level a legal framework and an enforcement mechanism for safeguarding national security in Hong Kong,” said Zhang Yesui, spokesperson for the third session of the 13th National People’s Congress, during a press conference. “This is highly necessary.”
The aspirations of Hong Kong’s people for freedom and democracy should not receive bullets and repression, according to Taiwan’s president.
“In face of the changing situation, the international community has proactively stretched out a helping hand to Hong Kong’s people,” she wrote.
Taiwan will “even more proactively perfect and forge ahead with relevant support work, and provide Hong Kong’s people with necessary assistance”, she added.
There is no law on refugees in Taiwan that could cover Hong Kong protesters, who seek asylum on the island. However, Taiwan’s laws pledge assistance for Hong Kong citizens whose safety and liberty have become vulnerable due to political reasons.
Taiwan, China tension
Taiwan recognizes the nature and principles of the Hong Kong protests. Analysts believe the tension between Taiwan and China worsened due to Tsai’s support for the protesters.
China made accusations on the supporters of Taiwan’s independence, claiming they are colluding with the protesters. China also considers Tsai as a “separatist” bent on securing the island’s formal independence.
Tsai reiterates that Taiwan is already an independent country called the Republic of China, its official name.
Moreover, analysts believe Tsai’s latest remarks on Hong Kong protests could also further damage its fragile ties with Beijing, as she enters her second term in office.
In her inauguration speech, Tsai emphasized her objective to cement a stable relationship with China, saying that “peace, parity, democracy, and dialogue” should unite the two sides. She noted that this principle can prevent further differences and antagonism.
However, Tsai did not agree to China’s “one country, two systems” framework. She explained that it would “downgrade Taiwan and undermine the cross-strait status quo”.
Meanwhile, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said the proposed national security law for Hong Kong must be enacted “without the slightest delay”.
Under the proposed law, Hong Kong is expected to carry on with their lives without committing subversion, treason, and sedition. The law comes after Hong Kong faced months of violent anti-government protests.
Wang Yi said during a news conference that the new law was “imperative” after protests “seriously endangered China’s national security”.