Tsai denounces China’s approved national security law for Hong Kong

President Tsai Ing-wen(CNA)

TAIPEI (CNA) — President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) said Thursday that a national security law approved by China earlier in the day would undermine freedom and rule of law in Hong Kong and that her administration was planning how best to assist asylum seekers from the special administrative region.

The “draft decision” on establishing a national security law in Hong Kong was passed in China’s National People’s Congress (NPC) Thursday in a 2,878-1 vote, with 6 abstentions.

Now that the proposed law has been approved, the NPC’s Standing Committee will draft the legislation, which will then be included in Hong Kong’s de facto Constitution, the Basic Law, entirely bypassing Hong Kong’s legislature.

When the law is enacted, it will prohibit acts of secession, subversion, terrorism and conspiring with foreign influences in Hong Kong, and allow Beijing’s security forces to operate in the region.

The proposed law is widely seen as an effort by the Chinese government to take full control of Hong Kong after a year of pro-democracy protests in the special administrative region.

In a Facebook post Thursday, Tsai said the decision to draft the law “greatly limits Hong Kong’s freedom of speech and judicial independence.”

She said her administration is already devising an action plan to offer humanitarian assistance to Hong Kongers who wish to seek asylum in Taiwan.

Taiwan will not sit idly by as Hong Kong’s freedom and human rights are being eroded, Tsai said.

“In this moment, all of Taiwan … is supporting the people of Hong Kong and the universal value of democracy,” she said.

Meanwhile, Taiwan’s Mainland Affairs Council (MAC), the government agency in charge of cross-strait affairs, also criticized the NPC’s decision on Thursday, saying that China’s “forceful methods were severely harming Hong Kong’s democratic freedom and rule of law.”

The decision betrays China’s promise that Hong Kong would remain highly autonomous until 2047 and is proof of the hypocrisy of the “one country, two systems” administrative formula, MAC said.

Meanwhile, lawmakers in Taiwan are planning to release a joint statement on the issue Friday, according to Legislative Speaker You Si-kun (游錫堃).

The ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), main opposition Kuomintang (KMT), Taiwan People’s Party and New Power Party have all written draft statements, and representatives from each party will work on finalizing a single version by Friday morning, You said.