Foreign minister urges genuine democratic elections in Hong Kong - Focus Taiwan

Foreign minister urges genuine democratic elections in Hong Kong

Joseph Wu (吳釗燮/CNA file photo)
Joseph Wu (吳釗燮/CNA file photo)

Taipei, July 22 (CNA) Taiwan's top diplomat reacted to the latest demonstrations in Hong Kong late Sunday by suggesting that genuine democratic elections are the only way for the Special Administrative Region of China to move forward.

Tens of thousands of protesters took to the streets in Hong Kong early Sunday, demanding democratic reforms and an independent probe into police dispersals of protesters at recent rallies which they condemned as excessively violent.

Their protest was similarly dispersed.

"It's sad to see the rule of law eroding & the divide between the people & the government widening in Hong Kong," Foreign Minister Joseph Wu (吳釗燮) said on Twitter Sunday night.

Wu called on the Hong Kong authorities to deal with the public by advancing democracy instead of suppressing dissent.

"The way forward is genuine democratic elections, not violence in the streets & MTR stations," he further tweeted, adding that "the freedom & Human Rights of the people must be protected!"

Hong Kong has seen seven weekend protests in a row since its legislature attempted to pass a Beijing-backed extradition bill in June that would allow criminal suspects in Hong Kong to be sent to China for trial.

The mass action descended into chaos late Sunday night when protesters occupied the streets and vandalized Beijing's Liaison Office in the territory, prompting policemen to fire tear gas and rubber bullets into the crowd.

At the same time, violence erupted at Yuen Long subway station when a group of men clad in white attacked anti-government protesters. At least 36 people were hurt, including a legislator and some reporters, according to media reports.

The United Kingdom returned Hong Kong to China in 1997 with Beijing promising a high degree of autonomy for 50 years under the "One country, two systems" principle. However, Hong Kong residents are increasingly concerned about the erosion of civil liberties.

Meanwhile, Wu reacted to an anti-Taiwan independence rally by a small group of what appeared to be Chinese protesters in Denver, with another tweet, highlighting democracy and freedom in the U.S. that protesters in China do not enjoy.

"Isn't it great to have freedom of speech? Don't ALL people deserve it?" read the tweet, which came with an undated photo showing a few protesters holding Chinese and U.S. flags and placards with anti-Taiwan independence messages.

(By Emerson Lim)


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