Film festival on HK's fight for democracy opens in Taipei

06/21/2019 09:00 PM
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Image taken on Pixabay for illustrative purpose only
Image taken on Pixabay for illustrative purpose only

Taipei, June 21 (CNA) Politicians and human rights advocates gathered in Taipei Friday at the opening of a four-day film festival focusing on Hong Kong's fight for democracy and the predicaments it has faced due to China's "one country, two systems" model.

With financial support from the Taiwan government, the film festival opened at the Wonderful Theatre in Taipei's Ximending shopping area and will run through June 24.

A total of five films by Hong Kong directors will be screened -- James Leong's (梁思眾) Umbrella Diaries: The First Umbrella (傘上:遍地開花), Tze Woon Chan's (陳梓桓) Yellowing (亂世備忘), Tze Wing Lam's (林子穎) Lost in the Fumes (地厚天高), Jevons Au's (歐文傑) Ten Years (十年) and Luther Ng's (伍立德) Head-to-Tail (對倒).

According to the organizer, admission to the festival is free and there will be a forum after each screening that will allow the audience to interact with the directors.

Chiu Chui-cheng (邱垂正), deputy chief of the Mainland Affairs Council, the top government agency in charge of cross-Taiwan Strait affairs, said in a speech at the opening ceremony that the recent massive extradition bill protests in Hong Kong underscore a strong sense of crisis among Hong Kongers about the "one country, two systems" model.

"Following Hong Kong's 1997 handover from Britain, the Communist Party of China (CPC) has repeatedly encroached upon Hong Kong's human rights and rule of law," Chiu said.

Chiu said the Hong Kong government's recent attempts to ram through the extradition bill has shown the people of Taiwan that the "one country, two systems" model is nothing but a deception, making them realize they have to cherish their democratic way of life even more.

"As a beacon of democracy in Asia, we (Taiwan) will do our utmost to help Hong Kong's citizens to pursue universal values," he added.

Former Hong Kong lawmaker Nathan Law (羅冠聰), who was stripped of his legislative seat in July 2017 for modifying his oath of allegiance to the People's Republic of China's Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, said Taiwan and Hong Kong are both facing a regime that seeks to crush freedom, human rights and democracy, which is why it is imperative for them to get to know each other better.

"Hong Kong has been treated by the CPC as an experiment ... Taiwan needs to closely study what has been happening in Hong Kong because the same things could also happen in Taiwan one day," Law said.

Hong Kong's Lam Wing Kee (林榮基), the former owner of Causeway Bay Books who fled to Taiwan in late April for fear of being sent to China if Hong Kong passes the extradition bill, expressed hope that the film festival will help deliver some important messages to the people of Taiwan, especially with the approach of the nation's next presidential and legislative elections.

Lam said that some Taiwanese still agree with China's proposal to implement its "one country, two systems" model in Taiwan. "They should see what is happening in Hong Kong," he said.

The proposed extradition bill has raised concerns that it could threaten the human rights of the people of Hong Kong, as it would allow the Hong Kong authorities to extradite crime suspects not just to Taiwan and Macau, but also to China.

There are also concerns that Taiwanese crime suspects traveling to or transiting through Hong Kong could be sent to China if the bill is passed.

The Hong Kong government has suspended the bill's legislative process indefinitely following the protests in the region that saw more than 1 million people take to the streets.

(By Stacy Hsu)


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