Tsai's remarks about Hong Kong a warning to Beijing: MAC

05/25/2020 10:15 PM
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CNA file photo
CNA file photo

Taipei, May 25 (CNA) President Tsai Ing-wen's (蔡英文) proposed suspension of Taiwan's law governing its dealings with Hong Kong if the situation in Hong Kong worsens was meant to be a warning to Beijing, the Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) said Monday.

As Beijing pushes a national security law for Hong Kong, Tsai wrote in a Facebook post Sunday that according to Article 60 of Taiwan's Laws and Regulations Regarding Hong Kong and Macao Affairs, the Cabinet may request the president to order a suspension of the application of "all or part of the provisions of this Act."

Tsai wrote that if Beijing implements the controversial security law, "the core values of Hong Kong's democratic freedom and judicial independence will be seriously eroded."

Tsai's remarks were not tantamount to "abandoning Hong Kong" but were intended to let Beijing know that the consequences will be serious if China's National People's Congress (NPC), its top legislative body, passes the proposed security law, the MAC said in a statement.

"The situation could spin out of control if Beijing acts arbitrarily," warned the MAC, Taiwan's top government agency in charge of relations with China.

Article 60 indicates that if the high degree of autonomy in Hong Kong is reduced, making it more like other Chinese regions, Taiwan's government could be forced to suspend the application of all or part of the provisions, according to the MAC.

The article highlights a desire to safeguard the security of the Republic of China (Taiwan's formal name) and ensure that the interests of Taiwan's people are not undermined during bilateral exchanges between Taiwan and Hong Kong.

It was enacted to monitor whether Beijing honored its promise that Hong Kong's way of life would remain unchanged for 50 years after the British handover in 1997, the MAC statement said.

Tsai's Facebook post has been roundly criticized by opposition parties for abandoning Hong Kong after repeatedly pledging during her presidential campaign in 2019 to support democracy in the former British territory and its people.

Some legislators proposed that Taiwan's law on Hong Kong be revised with clearer measures to make it easier for Hong Kongers to seek asylum in Taiwan if the situation there worsens.

In her Facebook post, Tsai said the Laws and Regulations Regarding Hong Kong and Macao Affairs contain measures to deal with Hong Kong people who have been subject to suppression.

She also pledged to deliver all possible humanitarian aid to those people, without providing any specifics.

China's NPC plans to enact a national security law which targets secession, sedition, terrorism and foreign interference in Hong Kong.

A motion to enable the drafting of the law on establishing a legal system and enforcement mechanisms in Hong Kong was brought before the NPC at its annual meeting in Beijing on Friday and will be discussed this week.

(By Miao Zong-han and Evelyn Kao)

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