Taiwan urges Hong Kong to be tolerant after political party ban
Central News Agency
Taipei, Sept. 24 (CNA) Taiwan's Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) urged Chinese authorities and the Hong Kong government on Monday to adopt a tolerant, rational and open attitude when dealing with city resident demands for more political freedom.
The appeal came in response to Hong Kong's ban of the Hong Kong National Party (HKNP) -- a political party promoting independence from China -- on national security grounds earlier that day.
It was the first time Hong Kong has banned a political party since the former British colony was handed over to China in 1997, the MAC said.
There have been voices in Hong Kong calling the ban a suppression of free speech and freedom of association, and many Hongkongers have expressed strong protests in the streets, the MAC said.
The Basic Law of Hong Kong gives its peoples freedom of election, speech and association, and the high degree of autonomy and protection of human rights in Hong Kong is precisely the reason why the city has gained the trust of the international community and become an important international financial center, the council said.
With that in mind, repeated efforts to suppress Hong Kong residents' desire for democracy and freedom will only exacerbate political opposition and hurt Hong Kong's stability and prosperity, the MAC contended.
According to an Al Jazeera report Monday, Hong Kong's secretary for security announced the ban on the Hong Kong National Party in a statement issued Monday, 10 days after the party submitted its case against being outlawed.
The statement said the prohibition means that anybody who associates with the HKNP can be fined and sentenced to a jail term of two to three years, Al Jazeera reported.
(By Lin Ke-lun and William Yen)
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