Taiwan opens new office for Hong Kongers after security law

Agence France-Presse
The Taiwan-Hong Kong Office for Exchanges and Services in Taipei will, among other tasks, handle applications from Hong Kongers seeking to stay in Taiwan for 'political reasons'

DAY 1. Riot police deploy pepper spray at journalists as protesters gathered for a rally against a new national security law in Hong Kong on July 1, 2020, on the 23rd anniversary of the city's handover from Britain to China. Photo by Dale de la Rey/AFP

TAIPEI, Taiwan – Taiwan on Wednesday, July 1,  opened a new office to deal with Hong Kongers wanting to move to the island after Beijing passed a sweeping security law for the city.

Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen had pledged a humanitarian “action plan” after Chinese authorities announced the proposed law –  which was passed on Tuesday, June 30.

The Taiwan-Hong Kong Office for Exchanges and Services in Taipei will, among other tasks, handle applications from Hong Kongers seeking to stay in Taiwan for “political reasons”.

“This is an important landmark for the government to further realize its support for Hong Kong’s democracy and freedom,” Chen Ming-tong, chairman of Taiwan’s top China policy body, told reporters.

“The whole world needs to be concerned” about the law, Chen said.

(READ: China to foreign critics: Hong Kong law ‘none of your business’)

Around 5,000 Hong Kongers moved to Taiwan last year as the city was shaken by massive anti-government protests.

They included activists seeking sanctuary and others looking to pursue a new life in Taiwan – considered one of Asia’s most progressive democracies.

Taiwan’s government said it will cover “necessary expenses” for those who come to the island for political reasons because their freedom and safety are under threat.

Taiwan does not have an asylum or refugee law and the cabinet will still make the final decision in such applications on a case-by-case basis.

Chen has said the new office is “not a rescue” project and will also deal with requests from Hong Kongers seeking to study or work and companies looking to invest in Taiwan. – Rappler.com

 

 

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