TAIPEI (Taiwan) – Taiwan authorities have expressed concern as Beijing prepares to push ahead with national security laws for Hong Kong, which many fear will further erode the city’s withering freedoms and autonomy.
The Presidential Office urged Beijing to commence dialogue with Hong Kong people and fulfill its commitment to guaranteeing the territory’s freedom and democratic way of life, said the office via a statement on Friday (May 22).
Beijing’s handling of Hong Kong’s affairs shows the “one country, two systems” arrangement contradicts the notions of democracy and freedom, said Presidential Office Spokesperson Alex Huang (黃重諺). It also consolidates the government’s determination to safeguard Taiwan’s democracy and sovereignty, he added.
The Mainland Affairs Council, the top government agency handling cross-strait affairs, criticized Beijing for wrongfully attributing the unrest in Hong Kong to external forces and Hong Kong independence supporters. The legislation undermines Hong Kong’s civil liberties and could create more antagonism and instability in Hong Kong while risking the city’s status as an international financial hub, the agency said.
On Thursday evening (May 21), the Chinese authorities announced their intent to formulate national security laws for Hong Kong that would proscribe secession, sedition, and subversion while purging terrorism and foreign interference. The plan is largely seen as taking aim at the pro-democracy protest movement that roiled the semi-autonomous city for much of the past year.
The fact that the legislation will be passed in the Chinese National People’s Congress, a rubber-stamp legislative body, while circumventing the Hong Kong government and legislative procedures, also reflects Beijing’s push for greater control over the city.