《TAIPEI TIMES》Taiwan opens office to aid Hong Kongers wanting out
Mainland Affairs Council Minister Chen Ming-tong, second left, and Taiwan-Hong Kong Economic and Cultural Cooperation Council Chairwoman Katherine Chang, right, unveil the plaque for the council’s office in Taipei yesterday. Photo: Chen Chih-chu, Taipei Times
By Chung Li-hua / Staff reporter
The Taiwan-Hong Kong Services and Exchanges Office yesterday officially began operations, marking a milestone in the government’s support for Hong Kongers in their pursuit for democracy and freedom, Mainland Affairs Council （MAC） Minister Chen Ming-tong （陳明通） said.
Chen and Katherine Chang （張小月）, chairwoman of the Taiwan-Hong Kong Economic and Cultural Cooperation Council, which oversees the office, yesterday unveiled the new unit’s plaque at a ceremony in Taipei.
The office is tasked with helping Hong Kongers who plan to study, work, invest, start a business or settle in Taiwan.
It would also aid Hong Kongers whose security and freedom are at risk due to political factors on a case-by-case basis, as stipulated in Article 18 of the Act Governing Relations with Hong Kong and Macau （香港澳門關係條例）.
Tu Chia-fang （杜嘉芬）, a former director of the council’s Department of Hong Kong, Macao, Inner Mongolia and Tibet Affairs, is the new office’s director, while Yu Pi-ru （游璧如）, a former senior specialist at the department, is the deputy director.
The office has a staff of 20 and is equipped with 20 telephone lines that offer services in Cantonese. The lines were mostly busy yesterday.
The office’s name plaque uses a font often seen on Hong Kong’s shop signs, showing the government’s expectation of fostering positive interactions with Hong Kongers, Chen said during the ceremony.
Asked about the national security legislation that China imposed on the territory on Tuesday, Chen said that Article 38 would not just affect Hong Kongers, but people worldwide, including Taiwanese.
The legislation would apply to people without permanent residency in Hong Kong if they are found to have committed crimes defined in the act outside Hong Kong, the article states.
Article 29 of the legislation states that people who encourage Hong Kong residents’ hatred for the central government or the Hong Kong government would face a series of outcomes, including prison terms ranging from three years to life, Chen said.
An American might be punished under the legislation if they are found to have criticized Beijing in the US and thus encouraged Hong Kongers’ hatred for Beijing, he said, adding that the act of a crime being committed would be established only if a Hong Konger testified to it.
The legislation is China’s injunction to the whole world, Chen said, urging all countries to pay serious attention to it.
Asked whether the MAC would suspend the Act Governing Relations with Hong Kong and Macau using Article 60 — which stipulates that the Executive Yuan could ask for the president’s approval to suspend the act if the situations in Hong Kong and Macau change and the act’s implementation might endanger Taiwan — Chen said that Taiwan would closely monitor the territory and respond at the proper time.