After one of the leaders of Occupy Central, a pan-democrat protest movement in Hong Kong, visited an outspoken Taiwanese politician last October, critics of Occupy Central claimed the movement was backing “Taiwanese independence.”
A Global Times editorial on October 24 stated that Chu Yiu-ming, then one of the organizers and now the leader of Occupy Central, met Shih Ming-teh in Taiwan. Shih Ming-teh was imprisoned for 15 years by the Kuomintang for allegedly creating the “Taiwan Independence League.” After his release, he has been a politician, first the the Democratic Progressive Party and, since 2000, as an independent (without much electoral success).
The Global Times said that meant the Hong Kong opposition was “at risk of becoming [an] enemy of the State.” Protesters outside of an Occupy Central deliberation day in October held a sign that said, “Oppose Occupy Central, Resist the Influence of the Taiwanese Independence Movement Attacking Hong Kong.” (“反占中，拒台独势力袭港.”)
Now Occupy Central has expressed support for the Taiwanese protesters who have occupied their legislature in opposition to a cross-straits trade deal. In a post on their Facebook page signed by the OCLP Secretariat, Occupy Central, which is planning on protesting this summer for universal suffrage in Hong Kong’s chief executive elections, said, “The current “Occupy Legislature” action in Taiwan, led by university students and professors, has touched those of us who are longing for democracy in Hong Kong.”
Following is the complete English text of their post (which was written in both English and Chinese) from March 21 at 11 am:
Letter to the People of Hong Kong:
DEMOCRACY WILL FINALLY BE ACHIEVED ON THE STREETS OF HONG KONG
To all Hong Kong citizens who will stand up for democracy:
The current “Occupy Legislature” action in Taiwan, led by university students and professors, has touched those of us who are longing for democracy in Hong Kong. “Occupy Central with Love and Peace” is also deeply inspired by this occupy action. As part of the civil society, we are deeply concerned about the Taiwanese students and will provide our best support by means of information distribution.
The occupy action in Taiwan has been compared with Occupy Central in Hong Kong and some even criticize that the latter has been dragging on for too long in its preparation. While both are acts of civil disobedience, we need to know that the “Occupy Legislature” action in Taiwan did not come about overnight but has actually been developing for quite some time already. The controversy over the cross-strait service trade pact began to crop up in 2011. Strong objections were voiced out by the public when the pact was officially signed last year. The occupy action was triggered on the eve of 18th March as some Legislative Yuan lawmakers hastily declared the completion of the service trade committee review. The action demands that consultation be redone and opinion be collected through public hearings; individual terms of the pact should be evaluated in a professional manner and the negotiations should be modified to make sure that international legislative practices are followed so that the mistakes made by the black-box operations of the government are rectified. It would be an unfair comment to the Taiwanese if they are accused of not occupying before the pact got into the legislature last year.
Whereas in Hong Kong, the wrong-doings of the political and business hegemony have added to the burden of citizens who cannot envisage their future. We are as anxious as anyone – why is it not yet the right time to occupy? If we take a closer look at the New Century Civic Action in Taiwan over the last several years, a lot of experience has been accumulated. With the support of a strong civil society and public opinion, the present occupy action has had close coordination from both inside and out. A successful democratic movement requires all three of these elements: ample time for development, strong public support, and good timing.
OCLP has no confidence in the government’s political reform consultation. The public needs to foster a common opinion and put forward a proposal through deliberations and referendum. If this proposal is rejected by the government, it will be the time we go out to fight and determine the destiny of Hong Kong people. All those brave souls who firmly believe in democracy will finally realize in the streets of Central the core values that we cherish, and rebuild a Hong Kong we want.
Occupying is not a matter of being cool; the pieces will only come together when public opinion matures. To all our friends who are devoted to democracy, OCLP calls for the utilization and focusing of your abilities in the limited time that remains, so that more people understand that real universal suffrage is the only target of Occupy Central. This is our only chance to save Hong Kong from decadence.
Go for it, Taiwan! Strive ahead, Hong Kongers!
Claudia Mo, a founding member of the pan-democratic Civic Party who represents the Kowloon West geographical constituency, also posted a message in support of the Taiwanese protesters: