Pro-independence Hong Kong legislators speak at NTU

10/22/2016 10:51 PM
Sixtus Baggio Leung (left) and Yau Wai-ching (right)
Sixtus Baggio Leung (left) and Yau Wai-ching (right)

Taipei, Oct. 22 (CNA) A newly elected legislator from Hong Kong who recently drew attention for departing from the script during his swearing-in ceremony defended his action Saturday in Taipei.

Sixtus Baggio Leung (梁頌恆), founder of the Youngspiration party, during an inauguration session earlier this month, pledged allegiance to the "Hong Kong nation," and draped himself in a blue banner reading "Hong Kong is not China."

Faced with criticism from the Beijing authorities, Leung said that "Hong Kong is not China" is a "fact," and that it is not Beijing's business to criticize him.

In a speech at National Taiwan University, Leung said that Hong Kong Basic Law and "one country, two systems" constitutional principle state clearly that Chinese government departments cannot interfere with Hong Kong.

But the Beijing authorities have grossly infringed upon the human rights of Hong Kong people by detaining personnel related to a bookstore that had published books banned in China, referring to the Causeway Bay Books incident.

Yau Wai-ching (游蕙禎), also a newly elected legislator from the same party, said that Hong Kongers insist on "self-determination."

"If we give up the goal at this time, it's hard to imagine what Hong Kong will become in a few years from now," Yau said.

She expressed worry that Hong Kong will turn into a society in which it is a "crime just to speak your views."

Ray Wong Toi-yeung (黃台仰), who founded the localist pressure group Hong Kong Indigenous, said that he has been in Taiwan for more than 10 days, and feels deeply that Taiwan is an "independent country," but lacks the support of other countries.

But he observed that Taiwan people think their society is free and democratic, and tend to be comfortable with their current situation.

But as China is a "very aggressive country," Taiwan should be on guard, he said.

Leung said that China "needs Hong Kong, but it doesn't need Hong Kong people."

"Similarly, I think China needs Taiwan, but does it need Taiwan people? You should all think about the question," Leung said.

Leung, Yau and Wong were invited by the NTU Graduate Student Association to speak on Hong Kong's local movement.

Because of the controversy surrounding their oaths, Leung and Yau have yet to formally complete the swearing-in procedure.

Yau said before the speech that her visit is purely to speak and that she has no plans to have formal meetings with Taiwan's political parties, when asked if they will meet with the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) and the New Power Party, a party that emerged from the Sunflower Student Movement of 2014.

But in the future, she said, she "is willing to have more exchanges with Taiwan's political parties."

Meanwhile, Rita Fan (范徐麗泰), a member of the National People's Congress (NPC) Standing Committee, said in Hong Kong that the visit by the two newly elected legislators was "taking things from bad to worse."

Fan, a former president of Hong Kong's Legislative Council, also said that Taiwan's "finger pointing" at the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region is obviously a challenge to the Hong Kong government.

Also, the Hong Kong daily Ming Pao (明報) said in its editorial Saturday that Leung and Yau made their appearance in Taipei before the controversy over their swearing has settled.

The DPP's way of handling Hong Kong affairs is also different from the low-key style of past administrations, it said.

According to the editorial, Taiwan's involvement with the two legislators will affect both cross-Taiwan Strait and Taiwan-Hong Kong relations.

Beijing will see it as the convergence of pro-independence forces in Taiwan and Hong Kong, and a move that will further touch a raw nerve.

Taiwan's Chiu Chui-cheng (邱垂正), vice minister of the Mainland Affairs Council, said recently at a news conference that the council will keep close tabs on whether Leung and Yau will have their qualifications as lawmakers revoked and any after-effects that could induce.

(By Miao Tsung-han, Stanley Cheung and Lilian Wu) ENDITEM/J

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