Hong Kongers in Taiwan worried over possible law suspension

Lam Wing-kee(CNA)

TAIPEI (CNA) — Hong Kongers in Taiwan expressed concern Monday that their status in the country could be impacted if the government suspends legislation that applies to them, a possible consequence of a new security law China is planning to enact in Hong Kong.

The suspension of Taiwan’s “Laws and Regulations Regarding Hong Kong & Macao Affairs” would affect Hong Kongers’ residency rights in the country, Lam Wing-kee (林榮基) told CNA on Monday.

Lam, who was once arrested by Chinese authorities for selling politically sensitive books in Hong Kong, fled to Taiwan in 2019, and now runs Causeway Bay Books in Taipei.

According to Lam, many young Hong Kongers who participated in the anti-extradition bill protests in 2019 fled to Taiwan out of a fear of persecution.

If the law, which gives people from Hong Kong and Macau an easier path to residency in Taiwan compared to those from other parts of China, is suspended, it would affect the ability of these people to stay, Lam said.

“If that happens, Hong Kongers, as well as Taiwanese people who support Hong Kong, will be very disappointed,” he added.

The discussion over the law and its suspension was sparked after a Facebook post by President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) on Sunday.

In the post, Tsai criticized the Chinese government for a new national security law that it plans to impose on Hong Kong, which would provide legal grounds for the central government to intervene against activities it deems subversive to state power.

“If this (national security) law is enacted, Hong Kong’s core values of democracy, freedom and judicial independence will be heavily eroded,” Tsai said in her post.

Tsai went on to say that per Article 60 of the “Laws and Regulations Regarding Hong Kong & Macao Affairs,” Taiwan can suspend the legislation if changes in Hong Kong and Macau make it so that the implementation of the law could endanger Taiwan’s security.

Although Tsai said in her post that Taiwan would continue to provide aid and support to the people of Hong Kong, Hong Kongers in Taiwan are still concerned.

Crystal, a Hong Konger who has studied and worked in Taiwan for many years and spoke to CNA using a pseudonym, said she is worried how the suspension of the law would affect new residency applications.

“For a lot of Hong Kongers in Taiwan, we can’t go back, and now that the national security law could be enacted, we of course want our parents and other family members to move to Taiwan as well,” she said.

However, if the “Laws and Regulations Regarding Hong Kong & Macao Affairs” are suspended, residency applications and work permits would likely be affected.

Crystal said she hopes the government comes up with a comprehensive solution to the problem in the event the law is suspended.