Sunflower Movement leader urges support for Hong Kong

Lin Fei-fan, one of the leaders of the 2014 Sunflower Movement, and more than 100 protesters gather to support Hong Kong people as the administration prepares to open debate on a highly controversial extradition law, in front of Hong Kong Economic, Trade and Culture Office in Taipei, Taiwan, Wednesday, June 12, 2019. (AP Photo/Chiang Ying-ying)

TAIPEI (CNA) – Lin Fei-fan (林飛帆), one of the leaders of the 2014 Sunflower Movement, and more than 100 protesters staged a sit-in protest outside Hong Kong’s representative office in Taipei on Wednesday to oppose a proposed bill in Hong Kong that would allow the extradition of crime suspects to China for trial.

After a massive protest over the weekend, tens of thousands of people took to Hong Kong’s streets Wednesday to protest the proposed bill, which would allow the city to transfer suspects to jurisdictions with which it lacks formal extradition agreements, including mainland China.

The former British territory’s Legislative Council decided to postpone debate on a second reading of the bill amid the protests Wednesday but said it would be scheduled for a later date.

Speaking before the sit-in protest in Taipei, Lin said that once the bill is passed, it could put protesters in Hong Kong in danger of being sent to China for trial under the authoritarian regime.

Taiwan and Hong Kong are both standing on the front Lines of Chinese aggression, Lin said.

“We are supporting Hong Kong not just based on our shared belief in democracy and human rights, but also because Taiwan and Hong Kong share the same fate.”

Lin said the bill not only threatened Hong Kong people, but also Taiwanese social movement workers like himself who might face extradition proceedings if they make a stopover visit to Hong Kong in the future, he said.

“Once the bill is passed, the ‘one-country, two systems’ formula in Hong Kong no longer exists,” he said in the hope of raising awareness among Taiwanese of the importance of stopping the bill.

Lin also criticized some Taiwanese political leaders, especially opposition Kuomintang (KMT) Kaohsiung Mayor Han Kuo-yu (韓國瑜) and independent Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je (柯文哲), for their statements over the Hong Kong protest.

Han drew criticism on Sunday for saying he knew nothing about the Hong Kong protest when asked about the massive protest that day.

His spokesperson issued a statement later in the day saying that the “one country, two systems” framework is opposed by a vast majority of Taiwanese and is therefore inappropriate for Taiwan.

Ko, meanwhile, was quoted as saying people should not be overly critical of Beijing on this proposed bill, but he also said it was “quite obvious” that the Hong Kong model of “one country, two systems” is not working.

Han has agreed to compete in the KMT presidential primary while Ko is widely believed to be interested in running for the office.

“One country, two systems” refers to a constitutional principle formulated by former Chinese leader Deng Xiaoping (鄧小平) during the early 1980s, who suggested that there would be only one China, but distinct Chinese regions such as Hong Kong and Macau could retain their own economic and administrative systems.

The Sunflower Movement was a 24-day occupation of Taiwan’s Legislative Yuan in March 2014 that protested the lack of transparency in a trade-in-services agreement that was signed by Taiwan and China but never ratified in Taiwan because of the movement. ●

By Joseph Yeh