TAIPEI, Taiwan — The Beijing regime should face up to and respond to Hong Kong people’s cries for democratic institutions and values and commit to its promise to Hong Kong’s people, so that this China’s special administration region can develop and prosper, a Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) official said Thursday.
Chiu Chui-cheng (邱垂正), deputy head and spokesman of MAC, made the remarks on Thursday, the eve of the 20th anniversary of the transfer of sovereignty over Hong Kong from the United Kingdom to China on June 30, 1997.
Xi Jinping, mainland China’s president, is in the former British colony on Thursday to attend the ceremonies.
In the past 20 years, the political and social institutions in Hong Kong have run normally, but five challenges and concerns emerged, said Chiu.
The challenges include: universal suffrage in the election of Hong Kong’s chief executive being stalled, press freedom deteriorating, judicial independence being challenged, the personal safety of Hong Kong residents in mainland China coming under threat, and the economic convergence of Hong Kong and mainland China raising Hong Kong’s economic risks, Chiu said.
He added that the international community is paying close attention to Hong Kong and showing concern for its future as a result of these challenges.
Democracy, freedom, human rights and rule of law are universal values cherished by people in Taiwan and Hong Kong, and it’s how one sees those values that sets people in Taiwan and Hong Kong far apart from the Beijing regime, said Chiu.
Regarding Hong Kong people’s pursuit of democracy, Chiu said that MAC has expressed hope that all sectors in Hong Kong, the Hong Kong administration and Beijing regime could seek a consensus in a rational and peaceful way.
‘We didn’t block Chinese tourists’
Also Thursday, Chiu rebutted a statement by MAC’s Chinese counterpart that the Taiwanese government planned to restrict people from the mainland from traveling to Taiwan, calling it a distortion of the truth.
China’s Taiwan Affairs Office spokesman Ma Xiaoguang (馬曉光) said Wednesday at a press conference that some mainland groups and individuals had recently been blocked from going to Taiwan. He was responding to a question about whether Taiwan authorities planned to take measures to restrict people from the mainland to travel to Taiwan.
Dismissing Ma’s remarks as false, Chiu said that people from the mainland are welcome to carry out exchanges in Taiwan, but added that there are certain levels of inequality and imbalances in cross-strait exchanges that need to be adjusted.
Chiu said that Taiwan’s government has taken measures to strengthen monitoring of cross-strait exchanges, targeting Chinese officials who deliberately forge or conceal their true identities, act irregularly or abnormally, or had infringed on human rights, or those who visit Taiwan to participate in political activities or have been invited by Taiwanese organizations that have been involved in irregularities.
All the measures are aimed at promoting the sustainable and healthy development of cross-strait relations and protecting the benefits and interests of people on two sides, Chiu added.