MAC says Taiwan will never 'abandon Hong Kong'

MAC emphasizes Taiwanese president seeking to safeguard rights of Hongkongers


(AP photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Taiwan's Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) on Monday (May 25) said that Taiwan will never "abandon Hong Kong" after some Hongkongers became concerned by a post by Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) indicating a possible end to the city's special status if China passes a draconian new security law.

In response to plans by China's National People's Congress to enact an oppressive security law, Tsai on Sunday (May 24) took to Facebook to write that she would consider invoking Article 60 of the MAC's Laws and Regulations Governing Relations with HK and Macau and implement “necessary emergency measures” to assist Hongkongers if the situation continues to worsen.

On Monday, CNA cited the MAC as stating that Tsai's Facebook post was not about "abandoning Hong Kong" but rather letting Beijing know the consequences of adopting the "Hong Kong version" of the national security law. The MAC explained Article 60 stipulates that if the Chinese Communist Party's (CCP) actions worsen the situation in Hong Kong, shake the city's autonomous status, or make Hong Kong the same as China, the government will be forced to end part or all of the provisions of the act.

The council said that, in addition to protecting the national security and interests of Taiwan while engaging in bilateral exchanges, Article 60 is meant to monitor Beijing's commitment to "50 years of stability" and to its promise in the Sino-British Joint Declaration to grant Hong Kong "a high degree of autonomy" and uphold freedom, human rights, and the rule of law. The MAC stressed that this provision is not only an "alteration of the situation clause," but also a "safeguard clause" to protect Hong Kong's core values and its people.

The MAC also mentioned the president had emphasized that the act already has relevant regulations on assisting the people of Hong Kong should they face oppression. The council said that in the past, relevant departments of the government have continued to provide all possible humanitarian assistance in accordance with humanitarian considerations.

This could be a reference to Article 18, which states: "Necessary assistance shall be provided to Hong Kong or Macau Residents whose safety and liberty are immediately threatened for political reasons." Some commentators have suggested the possibility that Article 18 could be invoked or amended to provide asylum or other assistance to the special administrative region's pro-democracy protesters.

The agency pledged that in the face of the changing situation on the ground in Hong Kong, the government will, on the basis of the existing framework, be more active in improving related rescue efforts and provide necessary assistance to the people of Hong Kong. Regarding the impact of the new security law on its offices in Hong Kong and Macau, the MAC said that the government has prepared contingency plans in advance.