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Hundreds take to Taipei streets to support Hong Kong on protest anniversary

06/09/2024 07:47 PM
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CNA photo June 9, 2024
CNA photo June 9, 2024

Taipei, June 9 (CNA) Around 600 people took to the streets in Taipei on Sunday to show solidarity with Hong Kong, as it marked the fifth anniversary of the city's mass protests against legal revisions to allow extraditions to mainland China, according to the organizer.

Holding placards with slogans such as "Fight for Democracy" and "HK & TW Stand Together," the participants -- mainly Hong Kongers and Taiwanese -- joined the event organized by Taiwan-based exile group Hong Kong Outlanders and other civic groups.

Participants marched from Liberty Square to Nishi Honganji Square, chanting slogans to support Hong Kong in Cantonese, Mandarin, and English. After arriving at the destination, they stayed for a rally during which human rights advocates from Taiwan and Hong Kong gave short speeches calling for continued attention to the situation in Hong Kong.

Among the marchers, Lemon Hsieh, a Taiwanese in her 40s, said she has paid attention to political issues in Hong Kong since the Anti-Extradition Law Amendment Bill Movement (Anti-ELAB Movement) began in June 2019, and has taken part in most marches in Taiwan that voiced support for Hong Kongers.

"They (Hong Kongers) are now forced to scatter all over the world and can no longer express their opinions freely in Hong Kong," Hsieh said. After the passage of the Hong Kong national security law, the situation in the city has become very similar to that in China, which is "deeply worrying," she added.

Lemon Hsieh. CNA photo June 9, 2024
Lemon Hsieh. CNA photo June 9, 2024

The Anti-ELAB Movement was a series of protests against a proposed bill that would have allowed extradition to mainland China, sparking widespread concerns over the erosion of autonomy and judicial independence for Hong Kong, a former British colony and a Special Administrative Region of China.

With other demands such as the implementation of universal suffrage, the largest series of demonstrations in the history of Hong Kong lasted for around one year until the Hong Kong national security law came into effect on June 30, 2020.

When asked to compare the political situations in Hong Kong and Taiwan, Hsieh said that the two places are very similar, urging young people in Taiwan to better understand politics instead of being indifferent.

"We must not follow the same path as them (Hong Kongers) -- it's crucial for everyone to stand firm," she added.

CNA photo June 9, 2024
CNA photo June 9, 2024
Hong Kong Outlanders Secretary-General Sky Fung (in black face mask). CNA photo June 9, 2024
Hong Kong Outlanders Secretary-General Sky Fung (in black face mask). CNA photo June 9, 2024

Sky Fung (馮詔天), secretary-general of Hong Kong Outlanders, said that the organizers chose June 9 for the march because, five years ago on this day, 1.03 million people took to the streets in Hong Kong, marking the first large-scale protest of the Anti-ELAB Movement.

He said that over the past five years, the level of attention to Hong Kong has been very high in Taiwan compared to other parts of the world, hoping that Taiwan's government can further improve its policies related to Hong Kong and Hong Kongers in Taiwan, especially an asylum-like special immigration scheme for Hong Kong activists who fled to Taiwan after the movement which was introduced in 2020.

Patrick Gam, a self-exiled Hong Konger living in Taiwan. CNA photo June 9, 2024
Patrick Gam, a self-exiled Hong Konger living in Taiwan. CNA photo June 9, 2024

As one of the individuals under the special immigration scheme, Patrick Gam sees Taiwan as the "first base of freedom" for Hong Kong, saying that the support from Taiwanese is crucial for Hong Kongers. He noted that at some Hong Kong-related rallies in Taiwan, the ratio of Hong Kongers to Taiwanese participants was almost fifty-fifty.

Sunday's event concluded with participants singing "Do you Hear the People Sing" and "Glory to Hong Kong" -- a protest anthem that is now banned from being broadcast or distributed in the territory.

(By Sunny Lai)

Enditem/AW

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CNA photo June 9, 2024
CNA photo June 9, 2024
CNA photo June 9, 2024
CNA photo June 9, 2024
CNA photo June 9, 2024
CNA photo June 9, 2024
CNA photo June 9, 2024
CNA photo June 9, 2024
CNA photo June 9, 2024
CNA photo June 9, 2024
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