Stand with Hong Kong
To date, to defy the proposed extradition bills which would allow the transfer of criminal suspects from Hong Kong to mainland China as a form of Beijing’s legal-political intervention in the territory’s internal affairs, mass demonstrations and assemblies have been organized in the former British colony in the past 12 months.
As an outcome of the sociopolitical unrest, over 7,000 Hong Kongers have been arrested. Ample protesters who are prosecuted have therefore been seeking asylum in foreign countries, as they are subject to police’s brutality and harassment, alongside fear of unjust prosecutions.
Aside from Canada, Taiwan is another popular region for Hong Kong citizens to seek asylum. By mid-July last year, around 30 Hong Kong protesters had already landed in Taiwan to file an asylum claim.
Hong Kong bookseller Lam Wing-kei (林榮基), the former manager of Causeway Bay Books, was detained in mainland China in 2015 after being accused of selling books critical of China’s leaders, who has been seeking asylum in Taiwan since early 2019, said he, by January this year, was aware of about 100 Hong Kongers in Taiwan who had fled there to avoid prosecution over their involvement in the anti-government protests in the semi-autonomous territory.
However, since Feb. 6 this year, Taipei has banned all visitors from mainland China, Hong Kong and Macau, a travel restriction which aimed to bring the COVID-19 contagion under control. Once the travel restriction is lifted, it is expected that more Hong Kong protesters, especially those encountering prosecutions, would choose to seek asylum in Taiwan.
When the outbreak of COVID-19 is under control, I hope the Taiwanese Government, within their capacity, can consider approving the asylum claims filed by those of Hong Kong origins, especially those who face prosecution due to their involvement in socio-political protests. To speak up and battle against Beijing’s authoritarianism and disrespect for civil liberties and human rights values, Hong Kong and Taiwan should provide mutual support as opposed to Beijing’s interventions.
The future of Hong Kong and perhaps that of Taiwan are gloomy to some extent. Yet, the silver lining is many young people are willing to take the initiative to fight for the core values of Hong Kong and Taiwan.
I appreciate Taiwan’s consideration of Hong Kongers asylum claims. I hope Taiwan will continue to stand with Hong Kong for us and our next generations.
Oath of office gesture
Elected and unelected politicians and national leaders in Taiwan have sworn the oath of office with the right arm raised at a 45° angle for more than 70 years, first introduced by Chiang Kai-Shek (蔣介石) in 1949, according to photos of him online.
This Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) oath of office gesture was then used by presidents Chiang Ching-kuo (蔣經國) and Lee Teng-hui (李登輝), according to photos available online.
The gesture has become so normalized in the course of 70 years that even Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) presidents Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) and Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) used the same body language during their inaugurations without being aware that they were using a KMT political gesture, brought to Taiwan by Chiang.
However, Sun Yat-sen (孫逸仙), in photos available online, used the oath gesture of the right hand raised in the same way as politicians in Japan, Europe and the US take the oath of office.
Is it not time for the DPP to follow their own path and stop using the KMT oath of office gesture? The KMT can still use its own Chiang-inspired gesture, as it is part of KMT culture. However, the DPP needs to wake up and stop using the KMT oath gesture.
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