TAIPEI (Information) – A small however rising variety of Hong Kong protesters who fled to Taiwan for security over the previous few months concern an opposition victory within the island’s election this week will put them in peril and power them to go away.
FILE PHOTO: Supporters of Kuomintang social gathering’s presidential candidate Han Kuo-yu attend his election rally in Tainan, Taiwan, January four, 2019. Information/Ann Wang
The principally younger women and men who got here to Taiwan after participating in more and more violent protests in help of democracy in Hong Kong don’t have any authorized method to achieve everlasting asylum, however President Tsai Ing-wen’s broadly sympathetic authorities has allowed about 60 of them to quickly prolong their keep.
A few of these protesters concern that help will vanish if the Jan. 11 election is received by Han Kuo-yu, the presidential candidate for Taiwan’s Kuomintang opposition social gathering, which favors shut ties with China.
“If Han Kuo-yu is elected, I’ll purchase a flight ticket and flee to a different nation immediately,” a protestor in his early 30s who requested solely to be recognized as Jero instructed Information.
Jero mentioned he flew to Taiwan on a vacationer visa days after he took half within the storming of Hong Kong’s Legislative Council on July 1 fearing he might be charged with rioting, which carries a most jail time period of 10 years.
He now lives in a small studio in Taipei funded by a community of native activists supporting the protesters.
The problem of Hong Kong has performed a big position in Taiwan’s election marketing campaign. Tsai has vowed to defend the island’s sovereignty and has rejected China’s suggestion of a “one nation, two methods” political method, saying it has failed in Hong Kong.
Han, who says he needs to forge sturdy ties with Beijing and met with Hong Kong’s embattled chief Carrie Lam and senior Chinese language officers final yr, has accused Tsai of utilizing the Hong Kong protests to whip up fears of China for electoral achieve.
Each Tsai and Han have voiced help for Hong Kong protesters. However the prospect of a Han presidency is extra regarding to the protesters.
“Hong Kong individuals are preventing in opposition to the Chinese language Communist Celebration, however how might we persuade ourselves that the Kuomintang can be in opposition to the Communist Celebration?” mentioned a protester known as Roger, whose vacationer visa has been prolonged twice since his arrival in Taiwan in July.
Jacob Lin, a Taipei-based lawyer who’s a part of a staff that has been providing authorized help to protesters looking for residency in Taiwan since mid-summer, mentioned many protesters are frightened a few change of political management.
“If the ruling social gathering is changed, the remedy for protesters could also be fairly totally different,” he mentioned, referring to Tsai’s Democratic Progressive Celebration (DPP).
Responding to protesters’ considerations a few Han victory, Han spokeswoman Anne Wang urged Hong Kong protesters not for use by the DPP for electoral achieve.
“I hope they’ve a real understanding of Mr. Han’s insistence on the worth of democracy and freedom,” she mentioned. “He’s solely in opposition to provocation, battle and battle, however he’s in full help of Hong Kong’s democracy and freedom.”
Hong Kong’s Safety Bureau instructed Information in a press release that these accused of breaking the legislation within the metropolis may have an open and honest trial, and any accusation of politically motivated prosecutions are “unfounded.”
Taiwan’s authorities has helped near 60 protesters who’re looking for shelter on the island for “political” causes for the reason that protests began about six months in the past, a senior authorities official with direct information of the matter instructed Information.
The official, who requested to not be named because of the sensitivity of the matter, mentioned Taiwan has been providing “help on a person foundation” to protesters, discreetly permitting them to increase vacationer visas a number of instances or facilitating purposes for pupil or work visas.
Taiwan’s authorities is not going to deport those that had made it there, the official mentioned.
“If we don’t assist Hong Kong when they’re in bother, who’s going to assist Taiwan once we are in bother?” he mentioned.
Taiwan’s Mainland Affairs Council mentioned in a press release that it’ll “appropriately deal with particular person circumstances” in accordance with present legal guidelines, with out elaborating.
Uninterested in ready round, some are taking direct motion to assist the protesters restart their lives in Taiwan.
Hong Kong-based rights lawyer Daniel Wong is main an initiative to arrange not less than 10 corporations from a laundry service to a restaurant in Taiwan to offer protesters much-needed residency through work visas.
Wong mentioned the plan, dubbed “venture protecting umbrella,” shall be funded by a gaggle of nameless supporters in Taiwan and Hong Kong, lots of whom are attorneys, docs and different professionals.
“We’re going to assist our personal children,” he mentioned. “Hong Kong individuals are not refugees.”
Huang Chun-sheng, a pastor at a Presbyterian Church in Taipei which has obtained greater than 100 protesters mentioned he’ll arrange a basis for Hong Kongers in Taiwan to coordinate funding help for these needing shelters.
He mentioned a couple of of these protesters had since returned to Hong Kong within the perception that they might possible not be charged there.
Looking for each day requirements in Taipei, a protester in her 20s who recognized herself as Tiffany sounded warning on the approaching vote, and urged Taiwanese to vote for Tsai, who she says can defend the island’s freedoms.
“I hope to check and discover a job in Taiwan,” she mentioned. “I hope Taiwanese can cherish the votes of their arms.”
Reporting by Felice Wu and Yimou Lee in Taipei; Further reporting by James Pomfret in Hong Kong; Modifying by Invoice Rigby