HK activist calls for rally in Taiwan before China's National Day

Joshua Wong urges Taiwanese public to take to streets before China's Oct. 1 National Day to support Hong Kong protesters

Shum (left), Chu (center), Wong (right).

Shum (left), Chu (center), Wong (right). (CNA photo)

Hong Kong student activist and secretary-general of pro-democracy party Demosistō Joshua Wong (黃之鋒) urged the Taiwanese public Tuesday to take to the streets before China's Oct. 1 National Day to show support for those Hong Kong people fighting for freedom and democracy.

Wong urged Taiwan and the international community to rally for such values so that Beijing can see that Hong Kong is not alone in its democratic movement, amid speculation that the Chinese government might impose a deadline for ending the turmoil ahead of its National Day celebrations.

Mutual support between Taiwan and Hong Kong is important, as both sides are facing suppression from the Chinese communist regime, Wong said after a closed-door meeting with top officials of Taiwan's ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP).

"When 'one country, two systems' is fully collapsed already, we urge people in Taiwan: it is time to safeguard Hong Kong and to support people in Hong Kong to fight for free election," the 22-year-old activist said after meeting with party Chairman Cho Jung-tai (卓榮泰), Secretary-General Luo Wen-jia (羅文嘉) and Deputy Secretary-General Lin Fei-fan (林飛帆).

"One country, two systems" refers to a constitutional principle formulated by former Chinese leader Deng Xiaoping (鄧小平) during the early 1980s, which suggests that there is only one China, but distinct regions such as Hong Kong and Macau can provisionally retain their own economic and administrative systems.

Wong, together with Hong Kong lawmaker Eddie Chu (朱凱迪) and Lester Shum (岑敖暉), former deputy secretary-general of the Hong Kong Federation of Students, said that what Hong Kong is facing now is no longer only political unrest but a humanitarian crisis that has unfolded since June in opposition to a proposed bill that would have allowed the extradition of criminal suspects to China for trial.

The activists said that by supporting Hong Kong, Taiwan could also protect its democracy, as such efforts could draw attention from more countries to curb China's suppression.

Echoing Wong's view, Lin said that Taiwanese society has come to realize that the collapse of "one country, two systems" is an extreme crisis and that DPP, as a democratic political party, "will provide necessary help and support when necessary."

Asked by the media whether the party will hold a rally as requested by Wong, however, Lin said only that the DPP will follow and support all such events held voluntarily by the Taiwanese public.

Lin also called for international support for the development of democracy, human rights and rule of law in Taiwan and Hong Kong, as well as urging Beijing to stop its crackdown on them, particularly as both are holding elections in the near future.

Hong Kong will hold local District Council elections in November, while Taiwan's presidential election will take place next January.

Before Wong, Chu and Shum met with the DPP officials, they met with New Power Party (NPP) Chairman Hsu Yung-ming (徐永明), NPP Legislator Huang Kuo-chang (黃國昌) and NPP Caucus Director Chen Hui-min (陳惠敏) to talk about the current situation in Hong Kong.

At the invitation of the Light Foundation, the Hong Kong activists were also scheduled to take part in a discussion forum hosted by Lin later Tuesday in Taichung.

The activists will head back to Taipei Wednesday to take part in another democracy discussion organized by the Light Foundation at the Mayor's Residence Art Salon before returning to Hong Kong.

Wong and a number of pro-democracy figures were detained and charged with involvement in unauthorized protests by Hong Kong police last Friday and released on bail later the same day.