TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – Civil groups in Taiwan are planning for a rally this weekend to show solidarity with Hong Kong’s anti-government protesters, whose demand for greater autonomy is facing increasingly bleak prospects as Beijing continues to encroach on the territory’s freedoms.
This month marks the first anniversary of the protest movement that had gripped Hong Kong for much of the past year. Civil groups in Taiwan, including a Hong Kong student group, are inviting people to stand in solidarity with Hong Kong’s pro-democracy protesters on Saturday afternoon (June 13) at Liberty Square in Taipei.
Last June, Hongkongers began protesting against the now-removed extradition bill, which would have given Beijing authority to seize residents in Hong Kong and try them for crimes in China. The unrest, which had been waning since a local coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak last year, has been re-kindled after Beijing decided to strengthen its grip over the semi-autonomous city with contentious security legislation in June.
In addition to garnering support for the Hong Kong protesters, the civil groups are also asking Taiwanese authorities to refine relevant measures intended to help Hongkongers who may flee to Taiwan in fear of being detained or prosecuted for their involvement in the protests. The groups urged the Taiwanese government to expand asylum mechanisms and loosen immigration restrictions for the people of Hong Kong.
It was reported earlier that the Tsai administration, after pledging humanitarian assistance to Hong Kong’s protesters at the end of May, would announce details regarding the government’s plan to welcome a potential influx of Hongkongers into Taiwan. Government officials have been reluctant to discuss how many people have acquired residency in Taiwan based on political factors, saying only that the number has surpassed estimates from non-governmental organizations.
The rally will begin at 3 p.m. at Liberty Square and continue on into the evening. Event organizers said they have invited Taiwanese political parties and legislators to join forces.