Taiwan to offer assistance to Hong Kong People: President Tsai

Could providing asylum to HK people be seen as crossing the red line by Beijing authorities?

In this photo released by the Taiwan Presidential Office, Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen, center, walks ahead of Vice-President Lai Ching-te, left of her, as they attend an inauguration ceremony in Taipei, Taiwan, Wednesday, May 20, 2020. (Taiwan Presidential Office via AP)

TAIPEI (The China Post/ANN) – Taiwan will provide the “necessary support” to the people of Hong Kong, President Tsai Ing-wen said on Sunday as protests broke out in the special administrative region over a new national security law proposed by Beijing.

Writing on her Facebook page, Tsai called the proposed legislation a serious “threat” to Hong Kong’s freedoms and judicial independence.

She added that bullets and repression are not the way to deal with the aspirations of Hong Kong’s people for freedom and democracy.

“In face of the changing situation, the international community has proactively stretched out a helping hand to Hong Kong’s people,” Tsai wrote before hinting at various options.

According to Chinese-language media, Tsai could consider invoking Article 60 of the Mainland Affairs Council’s Laws and Regulations Governing Relations with Hong Kong and Macau and implement “necessary emergency measures” to assist the Hong Kong people if the situation continues to worsen.

However, Taiwan has no law on refugees that could be applied to Hong Kong protesters who seek asylum on the island. Local laws do promise though, to help Hong Kong citizens whose safety and liberty are threatened for political reasons, the president said.

If Article 60 is invoked to suspend the entire act, however, Hong Kong’s special status could be revoked, affecting trade, travel, cultural exchanges, and many other facets of the relationship between Taiwan and Hong Kong.

The decision could further strain already strained relations between Beijing and Taipei.