Since October, Taiwan has quietly allowed dozens of protesters to stay on the island, and it now offers support for hong Kong to make when Beijing imposes new law on national security. Beijing says that the law against subversion is necessary to deal with the unrest with anti-government widespread in Hong Kong, but critics say that this is the last nail in the coffin of the demise of the freedoms of the former british colony.“The protesters no longer able to help Hong Kong, then what we can do, is to put our power abroad,” said Ben, who refused to use his real name because he fears being prosecuted in Hong Kong for his role in the protests.
Earlier this month, he helped organize a protest in the shopping district of Taipei, at Ximending.
“We know that we die, but we hope that China will be able to receive the same penalty. We want what happens to us happens in China, ” said the young man, 21 years of age. “We want the whole world to think” do we want to do business with a country that treats so poorly of the people.”
The young demonstrators began to flee to Taiwan in July last year following the storming of the legislative Council building and the intensification of repression by the police. Without any way to stay permanently, many have come back, but activists estimate that at least 200 demonstrators are still in Taiwan. The authorities have quietly allowed it to remain in the short term by extending tourist visas, and encouraging them to enroll in university courses to obtain student visas.
Some of the demonstrators and other hong Kong help to send masks, helmets and other supplies to the protesters among them. To the presbyterian church of Chi-nan, next to the parliament of Taiwan, hong Kong and Taiwan provide food and drinks, which are transmitted to protesters living in Taiwan. While the protesters say that they lack at home, they do not see any way to get short-term and often face the disapproval of their parents for their role in the protests.
In march, Ben has started a course in a university to help students from Hong Kong attending a course in Taiwan. Later this year, he plans to study politics in Taiwan.
“If in the future I can return to Hong Kong, I hope to be able to use all my knowledge to help Hong Kong,” he said.
The chairman Tsai Ing-wen became in may the first head of government to commit to help hong Kong people who wish to go after the announcement of the national security act.
The Council of mainland affairs of the government, which takes care of the business for cross-straits, said last week that it will open an office dedicated to Taipei from the 1st July to help the citizens of Hong Kong to obtain residency, and businesses and NGOS to relocate to Taiwan. On Wednesday, Taiwan has stated that it assouplirait the restrictions at the borders, to enable hong Kong to enter for humanitarian reasons, before the opening of the office.
The spokesman for the office of presidential of Taiwan, Kola Yotaka, said: “Taiwan condemns China for harming the democracy and human rights in Hong Kong, and will continue to help hong Kong people to provide support and assistance to practices based on our laws. ”
The office will provide financial aid to those who come to Taiwan for political reasons, but the officials stressed that it was not a program for the refugees and that hong Kong people still had to legally enter Taiwan.
Beijing claims Taiwan as its own and promises that it will be controlled by force if necessary. The office of chinese affairs of Taiwan has declared that the plan showed that the government of Tsai wanted to interfere in the affairs of Hong Kong. Give shelter to “rioters and elements that quest for the chaos in Hong Kong will only continue to hurt the people of taiwan”, he added.
Another young protester, who said she came to Taiwan in January after 10 of his fellow protesters have been arrested by the police in 24 hours, spends a large part of his days to fight against the misinformation chinese online. She says that she has published answers to what she calls “false news” and tarnishing the protest movement in Hong Kong on sites such as Reddit and Twitter.
“I want people to understand that you do not help only Hong Kong, you help to fight a tyrant who may be a threat to the free world,” said the young man 25 years of age.
Kwok Yu Him, and radio journalist in hong Kong who took up residence in Taiwan, said that it can better withstand outside China, linking protesters and activists in Hong Kong and Taiwan.
“In my work, I always ask people who cannot go to China “, he said. “I never thought that I will be joining, I can’t go back to Hong Kong now. ”
“I believe that as one of hong Kong who still remembers the days when Hong Kong was still an international city, to convey these memories is now one of my main tasks.”