Amid considerable attention in Taiwan to the ongoing Occupy Central movement in Hong Kong that is pushing for universal suffrage, some people have likened China's relations with Hong Kong to those with Taiwan.
We, however, must point out that although the future of Taiwan and Hong Kong is closely linked when it comes to upholding their existing values and lifestyles, Taiwan and Hong Kong are totally different in terms of legal status.
Hong Kong, a former British colony, does not have a deep-rooted democracy. The "one country, two systems" model implemented after Hong Kong's handover to China, however, allows for the existence of pro-democracy activities in Hong Kong society.
In recent years, increasing conflicts between different ethnic groups and social classes in Hong Kong have undermined the credibility of the government of the special administrative region. The Occupy Central movement thus provides an outlet for the mounting dissatisfaction of Hong Kong citizens with the status quo.
Having experienced democratization, people in Taiwan are naturally supportive of Hong Kong's efforts to fight for the right to choose their own leader. But the situation faced by Hong Kong is by no means the same as Taiwan's.
Hong Kong is a city known as a "special administrative region" within China, and its sovereignty clearly belongs to the People's Republic of China.
The sovereignty of Taiwan, however, belongs to the Republic of China, which was separated from mainland China due to the Chinese civil war. Until an agreement can be reached between the two sides of the Taiwan Strait, there can be no recognition of each other's sovereignty.
The jurisdiction over Taiwan, meanwhile, belongs to its 23 million people, a status that has been legalized through regular elections. Unless Taiwan's 23 million people give consent, no one has the right to cede Taiwan's sovereignty to others.
A consensus between Taipei and Beijing to promote peaceful development of their relations does not affect Taiwan's sovereignty and jurisdiction. The argument by pro-independence activists that Taiwan might become a "second Hong Kong" does not take into consideration the huge differences between Taiwan and Hong Kong. (Editorial abstract -- June 30, 2014)