Civic groups march for Hong Kongers detained in China

10/25/2020 09:12 PM
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Taipei, Oct. 25 (CNA) Several civic groups held a march in Taipei on Sunday to show their support for 12 Hong Kongers detained in Shenzhen for trying to make their way to Taiwan by sea.

Organized by the Hong Kong Outlanders and Taiwan Association for Human Rights among other groups, demonstrators held signs with the English words "Save 12" and shouted slogans such as "Release the 12 Hong Kongers" and "Liberate Hong Kong. Revolution of Our Time."

Chinese authorities detained the 12 Hong Kongers in Shenzhen for attempting to travel illegally to Taiwan by boat in August, labeling them separatists in the process. They were only allowed to see lawyers assigned to the case by the Chinese government but were not permitted to see their families.

The demonstrators started their march at the Zhongxiao Fuxing MRT station, passed by the Bank of China Taipei Branch, seen as a symbol of the Chinese government, and ended at the Hong Kong Economic, Trade and Cultural Office (Taiwan).

The organizers said about 3,000 people had attended the rally as of 4 p.m.

Among those participating was Lam Wing-kee (林榮基), the former owner of Hong Kong's Causeway Bay Books, who was detained in 2015 after selling books critical of the political elite in China, and independent lawmaker Freddy Lim (林昶佐).

Lim, the chairman of the newly formed Taiwan Parliament Group for Hong Kong, called for countries in the region to establish a human rights court in Asia.

Lam, who left Hong Kong for Taiwan in April 2019 after the city proposed a law that would have allowed extradition to China, was attacked by a man with red paint in Taiwan on April 21, and he described the attack Sunday as the type of stunt China pulls off when it is at a loss as to what to do.

Lam called on Taiwanese to stand forth to safeguard their right to freedom of assembly, which he asserted Hong Kong has lost.

Two women from Hong Kong who have settled in Taiwan told CNA during the demonstration that after the Chinese authorities unanimously passed a new national security law for Hong Kong on June 30, a sense of fear and uncertainty had taken hold in the territory.

They said the law, which grants the authorities sweeping powers to crack down on a variety of political crimes in Hong Kong, has made them more cautious about talking about certain sensitive topics in Hong Kong.

In response to the organizers' call for the government to set up a legal system to protect the basic human rights of Hong Kongers who seek shelter in Taiwan, the Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) said in a statement that the government will review and improve existing legal measures for the purposes.

The MAC also said the government has set up a Taiwan-Hong Kong Service and Exchange Office to give people from Hong Kong wanting to come to Taiwan an outlet where they could get information on residency, settlement, employment and protection issues.

(By Lai Yen-hsi and Evelyn Kao)

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