Freedom in Hong Kong has “vanished,” and China has failed to live up to its promise of 50 years without change, Premier Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) said yesterday on the 25th anniversary of the territory’s return to Chinese rule.
Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平) was in Hong Kong to swear in its new leader, former Hong Kong secretary for security John Lee (李家超), who has been sanctioned by the US over his role in implementing the territory’s sweeping National Security Law.
Most people in Taiwan have not shown interest in being governed by Beijing, and Taipei has repeatedly rejected China’s offer of “one country, two systems,” a model it promised to Hong Kong and Macau.
Promises that life would continue normally for Hong Kong after the handover had not been kept, Su said.
“It has only been 25 years, and the promise was for 50 years of no change,” he said.
“The ‘dancing will go on and horses still run’ has disappeared,” he said, referring to former Chinese leader Deng Xiaoping’s (鄧小平) statement about how life would not change under Chinese rule, adding: “Even freedom and democracy have vanished.”
“We also know that we must hold fast to Taiwanese sovereignty, freedom and democracy,” Su said. “China’s so-called ‘one country, two systems’ has simply not stood up to the test.”
The Mainland Affairs Council yesterday urged Beijing to honor the Hong Kong Basic Act, and to reinstate freedom and rights to the people.
Democracy, human rights, freedom and rule of law in Hong Kong have regressed over the past 25 years, and the international community has witnessed China’s reneging of the “one country, two systems” model, the council said in a statement.
“No matter what the Chinese government says, it does nothing to hide the fact that Hong Kong’s democracy has been harmed,” it said
Taiwanese have voiced their opposition toward the “one country, two systems” model through multiple democratic elections, which Beijing and the world have heard, the council said.
“We maintain that we are a free democracy, that the Republic of China and the People’s Republic of China hold no sovereign claims over each other, that our respective sovereignty brooks no violation, and that the fate of Taiwan can only be determined by the Taiwanese people,” the council said. “This is our bottom line.”
Meanwhile, Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Chairman Eric Chu (朱立倫) wrote on Facebook that the world, especially Taiwan, is concerned for Hong Kong’s future.
The values of which Hong Kong is most proud — human rights, democracy, liberty and the rule of law — have dimmed over the past few years, especially as its liberties are being increasingly restricted, prompting rising numbers of Hong Kongers to leave, Chu said.
The National Security Law greatly crippled Hong Kong’s democracy, limiting the expression of opinion in public, in the media and in the Legislative Council, he said.
The KMT would defend Taiwan and its democratic freedoms, and support the same freedoms in Hong Kong, in addition to its endeavors to uphold human rights and the rule of law, he said.
“We hope that one day people will not commemorate which administration Hong Kong is returned to, but rather celebrate that Hong Kong is finally free,” he said.
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