TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Speaking about Hong Kong’s civil unrest in the Taiwanese capital on Friday (Sept. 13), Hong Kong singer and pro-democracy activist Denise Ho (何韻詩) said the people of Hong Kong will not stop protesting against their government if it continues to ignore protesters’ demands.
What Hong Kong’s people are asking for is to “bring fairness and justice back to society,” said Ho. She stressed how important it is that Carrie Lam’s government sets up an independent inquiry into the Hong Kong police force’s handling of the protests, one of the demands made by the protesters, describing recent police conduct as “violent” and “out of control.”
“If there is no such mechanism that can guarantee fairness, if Carrie Lam is unable to fulfill this most basic [demand], Hong Kong’s people will continue to take to the streets,” Ho said. She also criticized Lam’s decision to withdraw the extradition bill, which would have people arrested in the city to be tried in China, three months after a mass rally first took place as “too late” and “suspicious.”
Ho was invited to speak on Hong Kong’s months-long protests at the Oslo Freedom Forum in Taipei. Held in Taiwan for the second year in a row, the international conference is a platform for activists, scholars, and professionals to discuss human rights and democracy issues currently at stake around the world.
Lam’s concession is not a victory in the eyes of Hong Kong’s people, said Ho. She cast doubt on Lam’s motivation for revoking the bill so long after the protests broke out in June, when the Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act was introduced in the U.S. Congress as a means to put pressure on Hong Kong and Chinese authorities.
Ho also corrected claims made by the Chinese government and pro-Beijing media that the protesters are advocating Hong Kong independence. “We hope the Chinese Communist government to be responsible for its commitment to Hong Kong’s people," said Ho. She was referring to the “one country, two systems” arrangement and the Sino-British Joint Declaration that China agreed to uphold when Britain handed over the semi-autonomous city to Beijing in 1997.
“We are Hongkongers” is an identity that the people of Hong Kong have fostered, but it does not equate to the pursuit of Hong Kong independence, said Ho, emphasizing that Hong Kong’s people are fighting for their rights under the framework of “one country, two systems.”