Comparison between Taiwan and HK ‘inappropriate’
This is in response to your editorial titled “We stand in Central” (10/2/14).
We applaud your editorial’s stance, which is in accordance with ROC (Taiwan) President Ma Ying-jeou’s unambiguous position that the people of Taiwan “fully understand and support Hong Kong’s demand for universal suffrage,” as quoted in your editorial.
To put things in perspective, we regard the editorial as having fulfilled the requirement of journalistic ethics by speaking the truth that democracy is fundamental to human rights for all human beings. However, we are concerned that the inappropriate comparison between Taiwan and Hong Kong may mislead your readers, as your editorial quotes BBC’s interview with a Taiwanese activist as saying, “…We’re worried that today’s Hong Kong will be tomorrow’s Taiwan.” In fact, Taiwan and Hong Kong are fundamentally different in essence and therefore incomparable.
ROC (Taiwan) is a free and democratic country that has its own constitution, democratically elected presidents, and defense and diplomatic capabilities, which stand in sharp contrast in every aspect to Hong Kong, mainland China’s Special Administrative Region. As such, it is quite inappropriate to equate Taiwan with Hong Kong. More importantly, today’s Hong Kong will never be tomorrow’s Taiwan.
In addition, it is misleading to imply that the Taiwanese will ever consider accepting the “one country, two systems” formula implemented in Hong Kong by authorities in China. Various public opinion polls conducted domestically and internationally have shown time and time again that the people of Taiwan have straightly rejected this formula proposed by mainland China. The people of Taiwan value their democratic achievements and are proud of a free ROC that has won international acclaim.
Finally, as you mentioned in your editorial, “As important as the future of democracy in Hong Kong is, there are other, greater stakes in the successful resolution of the Occupy Central protests,” we would like to stress that, for freedom, democracy and prosperity in Hong Kong, the greatest stake is the timing itself.
Now is the best time for mainland China to march toward constitutional democracy. The steady growth of democracy in Hong Kong will also be a huge boost for the long-term development of cross-strait relations. For this reason, President Ma, in his Oct. 10 National Day speech, called on authorities in China and Hong Kong to listen to what people have said and “let democracy grow smoothly.”
This will convert crisis into opportunity and create a win-win situation for both mainland China and Hong Kong, and will be strongly welcomed by the people of the ROC (Taiwan).
President Ma hopes that Hong Kong, Macau, and mainland China will all gradually forge ahead toward democracy. Rest assured that Taiwan will do its utmost to share its experience in developing democracy with them.
—PETER C.Y. PAN,
executive assistant to the representative,
Taipei Economic and Cultural Office
in the Philippines
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