Taiwan Foreign Minister on Hong Kong: ‘The Way Forward Is Genuine Democratic Elections’

Taiwan Foreign Minister Joseph Wu arrives during a press conference in Taipei on May 1, 2018. - Taiwan said it was 'deeply upset' after the Dominican Republic, one of its few remaining official allies, established diplomatic relations with China and cut ties with the island. (Photo by SAM YEH / …
SAM YEH/AFP/Getty Images

Taiwanese Foreign Minister Joseph Wu on Monday called for “genuine democratic elections” in Hong Kong, proclaiming democracy is the “only way forward” as the people of Hong Kong grow more alienated from their pro-Beijing government.

“It’s sad to see the rule of law eroding and the divide between the people and the government widening in Hong Kong,” Wu said through the Taiwan Ministry of Foreign Affairs Twitter account. “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!”

Wu’s denunciation of “violence in the streets and MTR stations” was a reference to Sunday’s shocking attack on pro-democracy activists and bystanders, including journalists, by a gang of white-shirted pro-Beijing thugs who sent 45 people to the hospital by beating them with clubs. One of the people treated for injuries after the attack was an opposition lawmaker named Lam Cheuk-ting. 

“Is Hong Kong now allowing triads to do what they want, beating up people on the street with weapons?” Lam asked at a press conference after the attack, implying that Triad gangsters have been hired to violently suppress the protest movement.

The Hong Kong Free Press summed up the position of Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen and her administration on the Hong Kong protest movement, which has become a major issue in Taiwan’s next election, saying:

Tsai has described the 2020 presidential election as a “fight for freedom and democracy”, setting herself up as someone who can defend Taiwan from an increasingly assertive Beijing.

She is facing off against Han Kuo-yu from the opposition KMT party which favours warmer ties with the Chinese mainland.

Last week Tsai’s government said it would provide assistance to Hong Kongers seeking sanctuary after local media reported dozens of activists involved in an unprecedented storming of the city’s parliament had fled to the island.

The KMT (Kuomintang) Party joined Tsai’s DPP (Democratic Progressive Party) in condemning the Hong Kong train station attack on Monday.

The DPP urged Hong Kong officials to begin a more serious dialogue with protesters and “listen to the public instead of serving as a puppet of the Chinese government,” while the KMT condemned organized violence and urged Hong Kong authorities to thoroughly investigate the train station attack.

Wu posted his thoughts on Hong Kong while traveling with President Tsai on a trip to visit Taiwan’s Caribbean allies. The trip included stopovers in the United States which infuriated China. Wu noted a little group of pro-Chinese demonstrators during his stop in Denver on Sunday and zinged them with another tweet.

The Tsai administration announced last week that it will assist Hong Kong residents seeking sanctuary from political violence and government reprisals for their protest activities. At least 30 Hong Kongers are reportedly seeking asylum in Taiwan at present.

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