Taipei, June 13 (CNA) Ten Taiwan-based Hong Kong students delivered a petition to the Presidential Office Thursday after violence erupted in extradition bill protests in Hong Kong a day earlier.
The petition called on President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) to take concrete action to support human rights protection in the region.
The letter, addressed to Tsai, was received by Presidential Office Secretary-General Chen Chu (陳菊), Presidential Office Deputy Secretary-General Shih Keh-her (施克和) and Presidential Office Spokesman Ting Yun-kung (丁允恭).
The 10 students were representing dozens of other Hong Kong students based in Taiwan who gathered in front of the Taipei Guest House Thursday to express their gave concern over the extradition bill and the Hong Kong government's handling of protesters there.
Hong Kong police fired tear gas, pepper spray and rubber bullets at demonstrators Wednesday in an attempt to disperse the large crowds of people gathering outside the region's government buildings to protest against the proposed controversial bill.
The bill, if passed, will allow the Hong Kong authorities to extradite crime suspects to the Greater China area, which also includes China, Taiwan and Macau.
Due to the scale of Wednesday's protests, Hong Kong lawmakers abruptly postponed their planned review of the bill that day, when it was originally expected to pass a second reading.
In a televised speech delivered Wednesday evening, Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam (林鄭月娥) denounced the demonstration as "blatant, organized riots."
Lam accused the protesters of resorting to dangerous and potentially fatal behavior, such as "setting fires and throwing bricks or sharpened iron bars," to attack police and vandalize nearby public facilities. "(Such behavior) will not be tolerated in any civilizations or societies governed by the rule of law," she said.
Gary Cheung (張俊豪), a Hong Kong student from National Taiwan University of Arts, said Thursday that while Tsai has on multiple occasions expressed her support for those Hong Kong people who had taken to the streets to reject the controversial bill, the students hope that more concrete action can be taken.
Firstly, the students hope the Tsai administration can incorporate a "human rights screening mechanism" into local regulations governing the immigration of Hong Kong and Macau nationals and subjecting civil servants and police who have taken part in the crackdown on protesters to stricter screening rules.
They also called on Tsai to negotiate with the Hong Kong government to seek other types of judicial cooperation to handle the case of Chan Tong-kai (陳同佳), a Hong Kong man suspected of murdering his girlfriend while they were on a trip to Taiwan in February 2018.
As Hong Kong does not have an extradition agreement with Taiwan, it cannot send the suspect to be prosecuted and stand trial in Taiwan, which has jurisdiction over the case.
"The Hong Kong government has used Chen's case as an excuse to justify the passage of the extradition bill," Cheung said, adding that the bill has also spawned fear among overseas Hong Kong students that they may not even be able to speak freely in a democratic country like Taiwan if it is passed.
Another Hong Kong student in the crowd, who asked to be identified only by his English name "Leo," told CNA that the reason why many Hong Kong students in Taiwan are coming out to protest the bill is because it stands to threaten Hong Kong's core values of freedom and the rule of law.
"The bill will take away Hong Kong's special status, rendering it no different from other Chinese provinces," Leo said. "This is our last battle. If people are not even willing to take to the streets for this, then Hong Kong is doomed."