Hong Kong Protesters Go Global, Seeking Support from Taiwan, India, U.S.

HONG KONG, CHINA - AUGUST 31: Protesters take part in an anti-government rally as they march on a street in Central district on August 31, 2019 in Hong Kong, China. Pro-democracy protesters have continued rallies on the streets of Hong Kong against a controversial extradition bill since 9 June as …
Anthony Kwan/Getty

Hong Kong pro-democracy activists are urging the world’s governments to support them against communist Chinese aggression. Prominent activist Joshua Wong spoke in Taiwan Tuesday urging Taipei to join their efforts, while others seek support from the United States, the greater West, and countries like India.

Wong spoke in Taiwan Tuesday alongside activists Lester Shum and Eddie Chu, the Taipei Times reported, visiting the headquarters of two of Taiwan’s largest political parties, the New Power Party (NPP) and the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP).

Wong, who was arrested on Friday in Hong Kong on charges of “inciting” riots by calling peacefully for democratic change, urged the world to organize rallies in their home cities to support the Hong Kong freedom movement any time before October 1, the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China. He suggested “Hong Kong and Taiwan are bound together in this struggle … facing oppression by the same authoritarian regime.”

Beijing insists that Taiwan is a rogue province of China despite operating as a sovereign, democratic state for decades.

Wong predicted that Hong Kong’s leadership imposing an “emergency law” to expand police powers to crush dissent was “very likely.”

“The imposition of emergency law in Hong Kong is very likely, and so we urge Taiwanese to show solidarity with Hong Kong by holding a street rally before Oct. 1,” he said following discussions with DPP officials. “We would also like to see people in other countries rally for Hong Kong on a weekend before Oct. 1. It is to let the Beijing government know that although it can shut down the demonstrations in Hong Kong, people around the world are standing in solidarity with us.”

“We hope that Hong Kong will one day become like Taiwan today, a place with democracy and freedom,” Wong said.

The DPP government of President Tsai Ing-wen has vocally supported the Hong Kong protest movement.

“Anyone concerning themselves with freedom, democracy and human rights around the world will also be following the march, and will also be very supportive of the people of Hong Kong,” Tsai wrote on Facebook in June. “Taiwan is no exception, and we also support the people of Hong Kong in their pursuit of freedom, democracy and human rights. Freedom is like the air: you only become aware of its existence when you start to suffocate.”

“It’s sad to see the rule of law eroding and the divide between the people and the government widening in Hong Kong,” Taiwanese Foreign Minister Joseph Wu said in July in response to police and pro-China mob violence against protesters. “The way forward is genuine democratic elections, not violence in the streets and MTR stations. The freedom and human rights of the people must be protected!”

Non-government advocacy groups have also organized events in Taiwan to support Hong Kong. In June, 20 Taiwanese pro-democracy groups gathered outside of Hong Kong’s representative office in Taipei to demand that the government address the protesters.

“If our friends in Hong Kong encounter an emergency that requires assistance from Taiwan, our current law has the leeway to provide forms of assistance,” the Taipei Times quoted DPP Deputy Secretary-General Lin Fei-fan as saying following the meeting with Wong, Shum, and Chu. “We also support the [Taiwanese] government strengthening laws governing relations with Hong Kong and Macau, which could be needed as a legal basis to assist the people of Hong Kong during emergency situations.”

Requests from Hong Kong residents for political asylum in Taiwan skyrocketed since the protests began in June. Among the Chinese communist regime’s biggest fears is the concern that Taiwan’s example of a free, prosperous society so close to southern China will inspire more protests in both autonomous territories like Macau and inside China.

As Wong’s team courted Taiwan, protest leader Andy Chan, founder of the Hong Kong National Party, has been attempting to court international attention. Hong Kong police arrested Chan as he attempted to fly into Japan on Friday for events in support of democracy in Hong Kong, nearly simultaneously with Wong being tossed into an unmarked van that day and charged with rioting.

The outlet Japan Forward, the English-language online arm of the Sankei Shimbunpublished a statement from Chan Tuesday urging Japanese people to take interest in the democracy struggle.

“I am now urging everyone of you to join the revolution. We need you,” Chan wrote, addressing the entire international community. “We are now in the 21st century, the year of 2019. It is ridiculous to me that there is still such a massive communist country in the world. What was not finished by our predecessors now falls upon our shoulders. It is time for us to end communism.”

“We Hong Kong people want the world to know that the Chinese regime is a Nazi regime. We want that to be circulated on media, on the internet all over the world,” he wrote, urging international sanctions on China.

Chan met on Tuesday with the leadership of the American Conservative Union, who traveled to Hong Kong, to urge support from the United States.

Hong Kong’s protesters are calling on the U.S. Congress to pass the Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act, which not only condemns human rights violations against pro-democracy protesters, but allows for support via political asylum for those persecuted and expanded U.S. opportunities to confront China in the southern city. The act has widespread bipartisan support from leaders like House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY).

Chan has also urged India to intervene on behalf of the Hong Kong freedom movement.

“There is a humanitarian crisis in Hong Kong. Hundreds of people were injured by police but they cannot go to the hospital because police will arrest people at the hospital, so we need to treat people underground,” Chan told India’s WION broadcaster. “I think India should get involved more in the China issue because China is a threat. I think India can do more. It’s not just about Hong Kong … India is next to China and could be very influential.”

Hong Kong’s protest movement organized in June against a proposed law that would have allowed China to extradite people from Hong Kong if accused of violating Communist Party laws. The protesters have made five demands of their government: a full withdrawal of the bill, freedom for political prisoners, an independent probe into police attacks on protesters, for the government to apologize for calling protesters “rioters,” and direct election of all lawmakers.

Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam announced the full withdrawal of the bill on Wednesday. Wong and other protest leaders responded by urging more protests to achieve the other five demands, rather than backing down.

Follow Frances Martel on Facebook and Twitter.

 

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