“Taiwan faces even greater danger with the fall of Hong Kong”
Chinese President Xi Jinping visits Hong Kong for the 25th anniversary of the return of the former colony British to China.
TAIPEI, Taiwan – Hong Kong exiles say they no longer recognize their hometown. The dismantling of Hong Kong, the erosion of freedoms and the imposition of Chinese Communist authoritarian rule since the handover should serve as a wake-up call to Taiwan, they said. Meeting with two exiles.
In his small Taipei bookstore, filled with books on the themes of resistance and freedom, Lam Wing Kee lives with reminders that he is a man marked by the Chinese regime. On the ground, drops of red paint recall the passage of supporters of the communist regime. They came to vandalize his business a few times in the past.
Lam Wing Kee was imprisoned in China for selling books banned by the Chinese government when he was still living in Hong Kong .
Lam Wing Kee built a bookstore dedicated to freedom in Taipei.
Hong Kong is no longer the Hong Kong of the past, he said. We should rather say Chinese Hong Kong today. China started destroying the city with the Extradition Law in 2019 and then the imposition of the National Security Law in 2020. Chinese law applies to Hong Kong. There are no more freedoms.
Overwhelmed with interview requests this week, Sang Pu is a political commentator from Hong Kong. He studied in Taiwan before returning home in the early 2000s. He eventually moved to Taiwan due to rapidly eroding freedoms. Friends recently told him he would be arrested if he ever set foot in Hong Kong again.
You know what, the worst is yet to come in Hong Kong, he warns. The Hong Kong government wants to gain even more law enforcement powers by passing a law against anything it deems to be fake news.
Sang Pu blames China to rewrite history, especially in school textbooks, by denying that Hong Kong was ever a British colony.
He also wants to adopt article 23 of the fundamental law to prohibit treason, secession and sedition. It's an even more authoritarian version of the national security law.
Even as he mourns his Hong Kong, Lam Wing Kee believes his compatriots can find freedom in them.
Hong Kong as a physical place is not important. What matters is the people. Freedom of thought is the most important. Those who leave Hong Kong are freed.
Sang Pu, on the contrary, continues to hope for a return to freedom for Hong Kong. He praises the resilience of citizens.
We are not violent, we are resistance fighters, he explains. No tyrannical regime can stand forever. Autocracy cannot last. We see the Chinese regime wavering somewhat. The economy is slowing down. Part of the population is angry with the government.
Concerts and fireworks: Hong Kong today celebrated 25 years of its handover to Beijing by the British regime. Report by Philippe Leblanc
Several Chinese officials allude to what they call the reunification of China, the return of Taiwan by any means possible including force. Sang Pu believes Hong Kong's fate is a serious warning for its host country.
Taiwan faces even greater danger with the fall of Hong Kong, believes- he. Taiwan is today the key place to protect to preserve democracy. The whole world must be on high alert against possible aggression from China.
Lam Wing Kee feels it is his responsibility to protect Taiwan. He participates in seminars on university campuses and receives Taiwanese from all walks of life in his bookstore. His weapon: awareness and education.
Books can be used to understand China, to understand Taiwan and to understand what is driving everything that is happening now. We must face the current problems and know what awaits us. I'm not too worried about Taiwan, because there's an army here, which Hong Kong doesn't have.
Sang Pu believes that Taiwan needs to strengthen its military capacity and tackle those who try to cause harm from within.
There are many Chinese collaborators operating in Taiwan, he says. They are trying to rot the system from within and destabilize the island. We must be aware of this.
For these Hong Kong expatriates, their fate is proof that Chinese promises to respect the principle of one country, two systems are lies and that Taiwan must cling to his freedoms.