Taiwan’s Mainland Affairs Council warns of Hong Kong travel risks

The proposed extradition bill, once passed, would have an impact on Taiwanese visiting the city

(Screen capture from MAC's website)

(Screen capture from MAC's website)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Taiwan’s Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) created a section on its website on Tuesday (June 11) about Hong Kong’s extradition law amendments, which many fear would allow suspects such as political dissidents to be sent to China.

The section includes the latest updates on Hong Kong’s proposed extradition bill and the Taiwan government’s stance on the matter, said MAC via a press statement issued on Tuesday afternoon. It also provides information about potential risks Taiwanese people may face when traveling to Hong Kong or even transferring flights, if the bill is passed in the following weeks.

Hundreds and thousands of Hong Kong citizens took to the streets on Sunday (June 9) to demand the government withdraw the extradition bill. They believe it will further erode the city’s freedoms and relatively independent rule of law under the “one country, two systems” arrangement.

Organizers said the number of protesters was 1.03 million, a record number since the territory was handed over to China by the British in 1997. Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam, nevertheless, decided to push ahead with the amendment bill in the Legislature on Wednesday (June 12).

MAC has warned the extradition law, once passed, would have an impact on Taiwanese. They could be extradited to China on “groundless charges” at Beijing’s request if they visit or make a stopover in Hong Kong, said MAC, criticizing the bill for attempting to “undermine the sovereignty of the Republic of China.”

The Hong Kong government proposed amendments to the current extradition law in February, citing the case of a 20-year-old Hong Kong woman who was allegedly killed by her boyfriend during their trip to Taipei. The amendment, the Hong Kong government argues, would enable the suspect to be extradited and tried in Taiwan.

However, MAC has said the Taiwan government would not cooperate with the Hong Kong authorities given the structure of the proposed extradition law. Taiwan and Hong Kong have not established agreements on judicial mutual assistance.

MAC Deputy Minister Chiu Chui-cheng (邱垂正) said during a press briefing in May the government has tried in vain to work with the Hong Kong authorities on the murder case over the past few months. Chiu said the government had made three requests to discuss the case but never received a response from the Hong Kong authorities.