Taiwan will counter new rule in HK security law if necessary: Tsai

07/07/2020 09:21 PM
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President Tsai Ing-wen makes the remarks on the sideline of the 50th anniversary celebration of the Taiwan External Trade Development Council in Taipei Tuesday. CNA photo July 7, 2020
President Tsai Ing-wen makes the remarks on the sideline of the 50th anniversary celebration of the Taiwan External Trade Development Council in Taipei Tuesday. CNA photo July 7, 2020

Taipei, July 7 (CNA) President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) said Tuesday that if necessary, her administration will consider countermeasures to the newly implemented rules under Hong Kong's national security law, which state that authorities there can ask Taiwanese "political groups" to provide evidence in the investigation of potential violators.

The law on "safeguarding national security in the Hong Kong Special Administration Region" was passed by China's national legislature in June and took effect on the last day of the month, prohibiting acts of secession, subversion, terrorism and conspiring with foreign influences in the region.

The law is widely seen as an effort by the Chinese government to take full control of Hong Kong after a year of pro-democracy protests in the special administrative region.

On Monday, Hong Kong authorities made public the implementation of a rule under Article 43 of the national security law, which authorizes the territory's police force to take measures if necessary when handling cases related to endangering national security.

Under the rules that took effect Tuesday, Hong Kong police can require "political organizations" and "agents" of foreign countries, including those in Taiwan, to provide information on activities concerning Hong Kong, in order to facilitate investigation into potential violations of the law.

Asked to comment on the issue, President Tsai said her administration is closely monitoring the latest developments pertaining to the law, which has many "unacceptable contents."

"Should we find that the rules are having a negative impact on Taiwan and its people, the government will consider launching response measures," Tsai said, without elaborating.

The president also said all political parties in Taiwan should be on high alert over the latest rules.

A senior government official, who asked not to be named, told CNA that the Taiwan government is in close contact with like-minded countries over the issues concerning the Hong Kong national security law and its implementation.

Taiwan will study the response of other countries before deciding what counter measures it needs to take to protect its national security, the official said.

Meanwhile, Taiwan will consider issuing a travel warning for Hong Kong, if necessary, the official said.

Also commenting on the issue, Taiwan's Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) on Tuesday condemned the new rules under the national security law as censorship being expanded boundlessly by a totalitarian power.

In a statement, MAC said the rules were "vague," in terms of definition, and "excessive" and "extremely unfriendly" toward Taiwan's political parties, its civil groups, and its organizations and citizens based in Hong Kong.

The new rules will "kill normal exchanges and interactions between Taiwan and Hong Kong, while causing panic among Taiwanese living in Hong Kong," said MAC, the government agency that makes and implements Taiwan's policy on China.

It also said the government will do its best to protect the operations of Taiwanese organizations in Hong Kong and the rights and safety of Taiwanese citizens currently living there.

(By Wu Po-wei, Yen Su-ping, Lai Yen-hsi, Elizabeth Hsu and Joseph Yeh)

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