《TAIPEI TIMES》 Tsai warns China against overreaching
President Tsai Ing-wen, right, talks to reporters at a tea party in Taipei yesterday to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the inauguration of the Taiwan External Trade Development Council.Photo: George Tsorng, Taipei Times
HONG KONG SECURITY: The president blasted regulations requiring Taiwanese agents or political organizations to provide information on their Hong Kong-related activities
By Chung Li-hua, Lin Ching-hua and Jake Chung / Staff reporters, with staff writer
President Tsai Ing-wen （蔡英文） yesterday warned of countermeasures should controversial Chinese national security legislation imposed on Hong Kong undermine or harm Taiwanese interests.
Article 43 of the legislation empowers the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region to serve written notices to Taiwanese political organizations or individual agents to furnish information on their Hong Kong-related activities, including their personal particulars, finances, assets, expenditure and capital in the territory.
Failure to comply or providing false or incomplete information can result in a fine of HK$100,000 （US$12,903） or imprisonment of six months or two years respectively.
Tsai said that Taiwan would keep a close watch on how the national security legislation is implemented in Hong Kong.
“If necessary, we will issue warnings and guidance to Taiwanese groups and people [in Hong Kong],” Tsai said.
Regarding the Chinese Nationalist Party’s （KMT） call for the president to issue a directive to all political groups “not to abide by the legislation,” Tsai said all major parties should have the wherewithal to judge which parts of the legislation are acceptable.
As for former president Ma Ying-jeou’s （馬英九） comments that national security amendments promoted by the Tsai administration were “no less restrictive,” Tsai said the changes were made to prevent Chinese influence from seeping in and undermining the nation’s democratic way of life, adding that other democratic countries have made similar moves.
Ma was referring to the amendments to the Criminal Code, the National Security Act （國家安全法）, the Act Governing Relations Between the People of the Taiwan Area and the Mainland Area （臺灣地區與大陸地區人民關係條例） and the Classified National Security Information Protection Act （國家機密保護法）.
Criticizing Article 47, the Mainland Affairs Council （MAC） said the demands were an infinite expansion of an autocratic government’s power to police people’s thoughts.
“Beijing and the Hong Kong government should not trample on human rights and commit jurisdictional overreach to harm the rights of Taiwanese groups and organizations in Hong Kong,” the MAC said.
It called on the Hong Kong government to clarify how it would protect Taiwanese interest and rights, as well as the safety and freedom of Taiwanese in Hong Kong.
The legislation is decidedly unfriendly toward Taiwanese political parties, private groups and other organizations that have actively promoted civic interaction between Taiwan and Hong Kong for many years, it said.
While concerned for Hong Kong, Taiwan has never intervened in its affairs, which is compliant with standing agreements between Taiwan and Hong Kong, the council said, adding that the Hong Kong government should also protect Taiwanese organizations in the territory from being affected by politics.
The Democratic Progressive Party （DPP） said that “there was not a snowball’s chance in hell” that it would comply with the Chinese legislation.
Taiwan is not under the jurisdiction of China or Hong Kong, the DPP said, adding that the Taiwanese government would never comply with acts that would oppress human rights.
A source in the DPP said that the government would reference the countermeasures other countries have taken against China and thoroughly discuss viable options based on Taiwan’s political and economic environs.
All agencies related to national security are running assessments and mulling countermeasures regarding the act, the source said, adding that Taiwan is in talks with countries that would be affected to keep abreast of developments.
Additional reporting by AP