President Tsai welcomes U.S. legislation backing Hong Kong protesters

11/28/2019 07:47 PM
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President Tsai Ing-wen.
(CNA file photo)
President Tsai Ing-wen. (CNA file photo)

Taipei, Nov. 28 (CNA) President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) on Thursday welcomed United States President Donald Trump signing congressional legislation that supports democracy and autonomy in Hong Kong.

Trump signed the Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act (HKHRDA) of 2019 into law on Wednesday, according to the White House. The legislation, which cleared the U.S. Congress last week, addresses Hong Kong's status under U.S. law and imposes sanctions on those responsible for human rights violations in the territory.

"The legislation gives encouragement to Hong Kong people and lets them know they are not alone in their quest for freedom and democracy," said Tsai in a media interview after inaugurating a national nature park in Kaohsiung.

Noting that democratic countries around the world are closely monitoring the situation in Hong Kong, Tsai urged its government to heed the call of its people for democracy, highlighting the universal values of freedom, democracy and human rights.

Meanwhile, Taiwan's Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) said the passage of HKHRDA by the U.S. Congress and Trump's willingness to sign it demonstrate widespread U.S. support for democracy in Hong Kong.

"We support Hong Kong people's aspiration for freedom and democracy and urge Beijing and Hong Kong authorities to respond to the voice of its people," MOFA spokeswoman Joanne Ou (歐江安) said in a press conference Thursday.

As a force for good and a democratic success story, Taiwan will continue to stand on the front line and contribute to international efforts defending democracy, Ou said.

Taiwan's Legislative Speaker Su Jia-chyuan (蘇嘉全) of the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) said when governments and people around the world speak out in support of the Hong Kong people, it shows that democracy has become a way of life pursued by all people.

Taiwan's biggest opposition party the Kuomintang (KMT) said in a statement it was no surprise President Trump signed the act because many countries are concerned at developments in Hong Kong.

The KMT supports Hong Kong people's right of expression but disapproves of rioters' destroying public facilities, according to the statement. It also called on the Hong Kong government to engage in dialogue with its people to resolve their differences.

Social unrest in Hong Kong escalated recently, resulting in increased conflict with the Hong Kong police, drawing international attention.

Protests started in June, when huge numbers of people took to the streets to protest against a proposed bill that would have allowed the deportation of Hong Kong criminals to China. Since then and despite the withdrawal of the bill, street protests have evolved into a broader democratic movement and demands for full democracy.

(By Emerson Lim)


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