Over a dozen Taiwanese lawmakers established a cross-party group on Monday to demonstrate concern for the development of democracy in Hong Kong.
The Taiwan Congressional Hong Kong Caucus was set up by Huang Kuo-chang of the independence-leaning New Power Party, and aims to promote exchanges in democratic experiences between legislators in Hong Kong and Taiwan.
Legislators from the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) have joined the 18-member caucus, but no legislators from the Chinese nationalist Kuomintang party – currently in opposition – are known to have done so.
Hong Kong pro-democracy lawmakers Nathan Law, Ray Chan and Eddie Chu, as well as activists Joshua Wong and Alex Chow, attended Monday morning’s establishment ceremony in Taipei.
“Hong Kong and Taiwan face a similar problem in that we are being challenged by an authoritarian Chinese government, especially on human rights,” said Law.
“From the incidents concerning [the disappearance of] Taiwan’s Lee Ming-cheh and Hong Kong’s Causeway Bay booksellers, to Hong Kong’s democratic development and Taiwan’s lack of international recognition – these all originate from the same authoritarian government,” he added.
Chu said that Hong Kong’s current stage of democratic development is equivalent to Taiwan’s tangwai period in the 20th century, when the Kuomintang ruled as an authoritarian government and violence against opposition was common.
“Hong Kong’s pro-democracy lawmakers have obtained over half of the popular vote, but less than half of the seats… we can see from this that Hong Kong must catch up to Taiwan with regards to democratic development.”
— Ray Chan (@ray_slowbeat) June 11, 2017
New Power Party legislator Huang added that the caucus will not only discuss issues of democracy – it will also exchange views with Hong Kong lawmakers on issues of youth, land distribution, urban development and gender.
It is not the first time Hong Kong’s pro-democracy camp have flown to Taiwan to discuss democratic development. During Wong and Law’s visit in January, they were attacked by pro-China groups at the airports in both Hong Kong and Taiwan.