Taiwan hits out at Beijing after claim it is involved in Hong Kong protests

03-Sep-2019 Intellasia | South China Morning Post | 7:20 AM Print This Post

A mainland Chinese official’s claim that Taiwan was complicit in the protests that have gripped Hong Kong since June has prompted a sharp rebuke from the island’s political agency charged with managing relations with Beijing.

Taiwan had never been a part of the People’s Republic of China and Taiwanese would never accept Beijing’s “one country, two systems” political framework, the island’s Mainland Affairs Council said on Sunday.

“It’s the people who initiated the [Hong Kong] extradition bill who are making trouble, and Beijing’s actions to force Taiwan to accept the one country, two systems framework are the ultimate cause of the disruption of peace across the Taiwan Strait,” the council said in a statement.

“The Chinese Communist Party should admit its mistakes and start political reforms, practise democracy and respect human rights. And only afterwards can Beijing solve its internal and external crisis,” it said.

Anti-government protesters clash with riot police in Hong Kong last month. (SCMP)

Anti-government protesters clash with riot police in Hong Kong last month. (SCMP)

“The 23 million Taiwanese will never accept Beijing’s one country, two systems framework and will never surrender to Chinese bullying and threats.”

The statement came in response to remarks by Sun Yafu, vice-president of the Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Strait. Speaking at a symposium on Taiwan in Sichuan province on Saturday, Sun accused Taiwan of helping to plan and support the ongoing unrest in Hong Kong.

Anti-government protests have rocked the city for 13 straight weeks, sparked by a now-shelved extradition bill that would have allowed criminal suspects to be sent to mainland China for trial.

The South China Morning Post reported earlier that a group of Hong Kong protesters visited Taiwan in mid- to late June to research their options for seeking refuge and the conditions for them to remain there under Taiwanese law. They returned to the city after exploring their options in Taiwan.

And in early August, Huang Jie, a pro-independence councillor from the southern Taiwanese city of Kaohsiung and member of the New Power Party, posted a call on her Facebook page for donations to buy anti-tear gas equipment and other supplies for the Hong Kong protesters.

In his speech on Saturday, Sun also accused Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen of deliberately fanning Hong Kong’s anger against Beijing in an attempt to reduce the city’s support for the one country, two systems framework.

One country, two systems is a constitutional principle that allowed Hong Kong to retain its own autonomous government, legal, economic and financial systems after the handover from British rule in 1997.

It is also a key principle and precondition that Beijing has proposed for the island’s unification with the mainland. Beijing sees Taiwan as a breakaway province that must be brought back into the People’s Republic of China, by force if necessary.

Chinese President Xi Jinping warned Taiwan in January that unification must be the ultimate goal of any talks about the future and that efforts to assert full independence would be met by armed force.

Mainland China would respect the Taiwanese people’s religious and legal freedoms in a unified one country, two systems framework, Xi said, in his first major speech about the island’s democracy, marking the 40th anniversary of a call by Beijing to end the military confrontation across the Taiwan Strait.

But he warned that the profound political differences between Taiwan and mainland China was no excuse to reject unification.

Beijing suspended official exchanges with Taiwan after Tsai took office in 2016 and refused to accept the one-China principle as the basis for cross-strait relations. To step up pressure on the island, Beijing has staged numerous military drills near Taiwan and sought to lure away its diplomatic allies.




Category: Taiwan

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