Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen / photo: thedailystar

Law enforcement exists to protect the people, govt exists to serve the people: Taiwan President

Law enforcement exists to protect the people, while the government exists to serve the people, said Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen in a statement on Wed (13 Nov).

Tsai warned that the people’s trust in the government will cease to exist when it “no longer does what is best for its people”, and when the police “no longer protect citizens”.

Her statement was made in the wake of clashes at several university campuses on Mon and Tue, including at the Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK), the University of Hong Kong (HKU) and the Hong Kong Polytechnic University (HKPU).

Police had — in Tsai’s words — charged into campuses “to repress students”, similar to the White Terror that took place in Taiwan for almost four decades from 1949 to 1987, during which unrestrained martial law prevailed under Chiang Kai-shek’s ruling party Kuomintang (KMT). The party used violent means, including murder, to silence dissent.

“We saw flames cutting through the darkness and tear gas canisters flying in all directions. Our dark past, which we have worked so hard to put behind us, has become the present reality for Hong Kong.

“During the White Terror in Taiwan, military and police entered school campuses to arbitrarily arrest students and suppress their freedoms. This a painful part of our history that we do not wish to see repeat itself,” said Tsai.

 

Tsai urged the Hong Kong government to put an end to “these acts of repression before it is too late”.

“The people’s voices should not be met with violence, and the blood of young Hong Kongers should not be sacrificed to decorate the faces of the Beijing authorities,” she said.

She also called upon “those in the international community committed to the values of freedom and democracy” to show support for Hong Kong in the midst of a highly trying time against “authoritarian expansionism”, and to “show their concern for the chaos unfolding there”.

“Right now, authoritarianism is eroding freedom and the rule of law in Hong Kong.

“As the global frontline of defense resisting authoritarian expansionism, I call on those in the international community committed to the values of freedom and democracy to stand with Hong Kong and show their concern for the chaos unfolding there,” said Tsai.

The relationship between Taipei and Beijing has become a contentious issue in the presidential election campaign, whereby Taiwanese voters are showing greater resistance for the “one country, two systems” framework Beijing intends to implement in Taiwan, SCMP reported.

Both of Taiwan’s main political parties – Tsai’s independence-leaning Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) and the mainland-friendly Kuomintang – have rejected one country, two systems.

Hong Kong has enjoyed a considerable degree of autonomy under the “one country, two systems” since the handover to China from the British in 1997.

As one of the Special Administrative Regions (SAR) under China, Hong Kong’s right to carry out the “one country, two systems” policy is guaranteed under Article 31 of the Constitution of the People’s Republic of China.

This right was solidified by the the National People’s Congress’ approval of the Hong Kong Basic Law – akin to a Constitution – in 1990 and its subsequent enforcement in 1997.

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