Dialogue over oppression, says Taiwanese president while extending support to Hong Kong

WION Web Team
New Delhi, India Published: Aug 12, 2020, 02:10 PM(IST)

File photo: Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen. Photograph:( Reuters )

Story highlights

Ing-wen was speaking at a party news conference in the country capital Taipei

Taiwan’s President Tsai Ing-wen on August 12 called  on China to resolve issues in Hong Kong through dialogue instead of “oppressing the people”.

Ing-wen was speaking at a party news conference in the country capital Taipei. She also extended support to the people of Hong Kong. We ”promise to firmly support the Hong Kong people in their struggle for freedom and democracy”, she said. 

Also read: China wants to turn us into next Hong Kong: Taiwan to US official on visit

"And I also wish to call upon all countries and opinion leaders across the world who support Hong Kong, to continue to care about the situation in Hong Kong and support Hong Kong people in (their goal of) defending freedom and human rights", she added.

Alex Azar, the US health chief is nearing the end of his visit to Taiwan, which marks the first such visit in decades to the country. The visit is largely being seen as a token of support to Taiwan, which has for long been sidelined diplomatically with countries favouring recognition of China instead, which in turn claims Taiwan as its own territory, a claim refuted by Taiwanese officials.

China has imposed a national security law in Hong Kong, and within its ambit, many arrests have been made in the city, of mostly journalists and activists.

Also read: HK's Apple Daily taking legal action against unlawful seizure of materials

Taiwan on August 11 told visiting United States Health Secretary Alex Azar that China is pressurising the island to give in to conditions which would create a situation similar to Hong Kong.

Media tycoon Jimmy Lai and democracy activist Agnes Chow were recently arrested. Lai is now on bail and has asked the staff of Apple Daily to “fight on”.

"Fight on"

"Fight on! Let's fight on," Lai said in a Facebook live broadcast. "We have the support of the Hong Kong people. We can't let them down”, he said.

A clampdown has gathered pace in Hong Kong since China imposed a sweeping security law in June, with opposition politicians disqualified and activists arrested for social media posts.

Also read: China sends fighter jets as US health chief visits Taiwan

The moves have provoked outrage in the West and fear for millions who last year took to the streets to protest communist China's tightening grip on the semi-autonomous city.

Mainland-born Lai, who was smuggled into Hong Kong on a fishing boat when he was a penniless 12-year-old, is one of the most prominent democracy activists in the city and an ardent critic of Communist Party rule in Beijing.

His arrest came amid a crackdown on the pro-democracy opposition in Hong Kong that has drawn international criticism and raised fears for freedoms promised by Beijing under a "one country, two systems" formula.

Freedoms curtailed

The sweeping security law imposed on June 30 punishes anything China considers secession, subversion, terrorism or collusion with foreign forces with up to life in prison.

The city's Beijing-backed government and Chinese authorities say the law is necessary to restore order after months of at times violent anti-government protests last year, sparked by fears China was slowly eroding those freedoms.

Also read: Taiwan: Opposition party demands clarification of US envoy spelling President Tsai as 'Xi'

Azar's trip to Taiwan has also coincided with a crackdown in Hong Kong, where police arrested media tycoon Jimmy Lai under a tough new national security law on Monday.

China has proposed a "one country, two systems" kind of arrangement with Taiwan, similar to how the country rules Hong Kong. It has been rejected by all Taiwanese parties.

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