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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Taiwan urges dialogue following arrest of Hong Kong activists

ROC Central News Agency

2019/08/30 21:15:04

Taipei, Aug. 30 (CNA) Political leaders in Taiwan voiced grave concern and urged dialogue following the arrest of several pro-democracy leaders in Hong Kong on Friday, ahead of a rally planned for the next day which the police have banned for the first time since protests started 13 weeks ago.

"The current situation in Hong Kong is indeed worrisome, and it reminds us of how precious democracy and freedom are," President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) said in a message in a LINE group chat.

Stressing that the Presidential Office is highly concerned about the situation in Hong Kong, Presidential Office spokesman Ting Yun-kung (丁允恭) said "what Hong Kong needs now is dialogue, not suppression or arrests."

He urged Beijing and Hong Kong authorities to adhere to their promise to maintain democracy and human rights in Hong Kong based on the rule of law.

The remarks followed the arrest of Joshua Wong (黃之鋒), a Hong Kong student activist who is secretary-general of the pro- democracy party Demosistō, and Agnes Chaw (周庭), a Hong Kong social activist and Standing Committee member of Demosistō, earlier the same day for what Hong Kong police said was allegedly inciting, organizing and participating in an unauthorized assembly at Wan Chai police headquarters on June 21.

Later Friday, Wong and Chaw were released on bail, and Wong is allowed to visit Taiwan as scheduled in September.

On Thursday, Andy Chan (陳浩天), a Hong Kong pro-independence political activist and a founding member and the convener of the banned Hong Kong National Party, was detained when preparing to leave the Chinese Special Administrative Region.

It was reported that Chan was arrested for allegedly taking part in violent activities and attacking police.

Since June, about 900 people have been arrested in Hong Kong in relation to protests against a now suspended extradition bill that could result in accused individuals being sent to stand trial in China.

In a press release, the legislative caucus of the ruling Democratic Progressive Party, said the string of demonstrations in Hong Kong are a reflection of people's desire for democracy and freedom despite the police crackdown. The Hong Kong authorities should heed and respond to the people's call, it said.

Meanwhile, the opposition Kuomintang (KMT) issued a statement urging communication after the arrest of Wong.

"Hong Kong is a society ruled by law. Law enforcement and the questioning or detention of certain people must be carried out in accordance with the law to protect people's rights." the KMT said.

"Instead of assaulting each other violently, we urge every sector in Hong Kong to communicate rationally and avoid tearing apart society by adhering to the universal value of basic human rights," it said.

Also on Friday, Kaohsiung Mayor Han Kuo-yu (韓國瑜), who will represent the KMT in the January 2020 presidential election, urged the Hong Kong government to recognize the reality of the situation and hold dialogue with the people to bring an end to the current stalemate, because "suppression will only result in confrontation and riots."

"Therefore, we urged Beijing to stick to its promises as stipulated in the Sino-British Joint Declaration and Basic Law to allow a high degree of autonomy in Hong Kong and the fundamental rights of speech and assembly of its people," Han said.

The comments came one day after the Hong Kong police denied an application to demonstrate for the first time, ahead of a 13th week of protests scheduled for Saturday.

(By Flor Wang and Gu Chuan, Wang Yang-yu and Cheng Chi-fon)

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