HAND-DELIVERED: The small group was allowed into the Presidential Office Building, where they gave a petition urging Tsai to voice support for the protests in Hong Kong
By Su Yung-yao and Sherry Hsiao / Staff reporter, with staff writer
Four Hong Kongers yesterday gathered outside the Presidential Office Building in Taipei to call on President Tsai Ing-wen （蔡英文） to speak up for those protesting a proposed extradition bill for the territory.
They shouted “no extradition to China, support Taiwan, protect Hong Kong” before being admitted to the building to present a petition. They remained inside for about half an hour.
Officials from the Presidential Office’s Department of Public Affairs accepted the petition and promised to pass on their message, one of the protesters told reporters afterward.
The officials told them that Tsai has “always paid close attention to the development of the situation in Hong Kong,” the protester said.
Tsai once said that Taiwan is “a beacon of democracy in Asia,” said Yeung Ke-cheong （楊繼昌）, another of the quartet.
If she could express her attitude toward a protest against the bill that has been scheduled for this evening in Hong Kong’s Central District, it would be a “great encouragement” for Hong Kongers, Yeung said.
Protesters fear that after this week’s G20 summit in Osaka, Japan, authorities would exact revenge on them, he said, adding that the fears are not “imaginary.”
The protesters hope that the international community will continue to follow the situation in the territory to prevent the Hong Kong government from “going too far,” he said.
Yeung said the group decided to make an appeal to the Taiwanese government in person because they believe Taiwan and Hong Kong share close ties, adding that they knew before leaving for Taipei that they would be received by the Presidential Office.
The petition states that when the student protests that began outside Hong Kong government headquarters in late September 2014, which later became known as the “Umbrella movement,” Tsai, as then-Democratic Progressive Party （DPP） chairperson, urged the international community to express concern for Hong Kong.
Through words and action, she supported Hong Kongers’ fight for “true universal suffrage” and promised that the DPP would continue to support democracy in Hong Kong and Hong Kongers’ fight for democracy through peaceful means, the petition said.
As president today, authorized by the votes of Taiwanese, Tsai has “complete governance” — control of the executive and legislative branches, the petition said.
Calling the situation in Hong Kong “turbulent,” it said that on the eve of Beijing’s attempt to almost “recreate a small-scale June Fourth [movement] in Hong Kong,” Tsai has not betrayed her promise.
As president, Tsai has repeatedly expressed support for Hong Kongers’ fight, it said.
Tsai has not forgotten her original intention, displaying the personality of a leader of a democratic nation, it added.
The protesters also wrote that they hoped Tsai could address today’s rally in a recorded message.
Hopefully, Tsai will become “the first head of state of a sovereign nation” to encourage the protesters in Hong Kong, the petition said.
It would show the world that Taiwan and Hong Kong are connected, and encourage Hong Kongers, especially the younger generation, to continue protesting peacefully, as well as protecting Hong Kongers, the petition said.
The protesters have also launched an online signature drive to gather more support for the petition.
Additional reporting by CNA
Yeung Ke-cheong, second left, and three other Hong Kongers deliver a petition to the Presidential Office in Taipei yesterday. Photo: CNA