HK law revision unacceptable if it belittles Taiwan: officials

Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) Minister Chen Ming-tung (陳明通) is seen in this file photo from Feb. 21, 2019. (NOWnews)

TAIPEI (CNA) — Taiwan will strongly oppose the planned revision of an extradition law in Hong Kong to facilitate the extradition of criminal suspects between the two sides, if it is based on Beijing’s “one China” principle, a government official said Feb. 21.

Taiwan will never change its position in this regard either before or after the law amendment even if the two sides are eligible to sign an extradition agreement (to deal with fugitives in the future), said Liu Yi-chun (劉怡君), a prosecutor with the Department of International and Cross-Strait Legal Affairs under the Ministry of Justice.

“Although Taiwan has been seeking mutual judicial assistance with different jurisdictions, including Hong Kong, the government will not accept an extradition agreement that erodes Taiwan’s dignity and sovereignty,” Liu said.

Liu made the remarks following a press conference held by New Power Party Legislator Hsu Yung-ming (徐永明) earlier the same day, in which he criticized the justice ministry’s positive attitude to the law revision proposal by Hong Kong.

According to Hsu, Hong Kong’s Security Bureau submitted a legal assistance proposal to the Legislative Council Panel on Security Feb.12 to amend the law to allow the extradition of criminal suspects between Taiwan and Hong Kong.

On the surface, the revision seems to be aimed at facilitating the surrender of Hong Kong suspects to be prosecuted and stand trial in Taiwan (now there is no extradition agreement between the two sides), Hsu said.

However, its true intention is to send Taiwanese suspects in Hong Kong to stand trial, for whatever pretext, in China, which views Taiwan as part of its territory, he claimed. Hsu offered no evidence for his assertion and did not mention that millions of Taiwan nationals visit China and are therefore directly subject to its legal system every year.

Huang Ting-hui (黃廷輝), an official in charge of Hong Kong, Macao and Mongolia affairs in the Mainland Affairs Council (MAC), said the MAC will not accept any action that seeks to eliminate Taiwan’s national sovereignty.

Stressing that the MAC will continue to closely watch the development of the law revision in Hong Kong, he urged the Hong Kong authorities to thoroughly review the proposal to ensure the rights of Taiwan’s people are protected in Hong Kong.

By Chen Chun-hua and Flor Wang