In his 10/10 speech President Ma urges China to try democracy, first in Hong Kong, and the whole world reports on it (LA Times, The Guardian via AFP, IBTimes). Hong Kong's importance is at last putting Taiwan on the world stage, as an up-and-coming writer on Taiwan reminded me in chat today, to our mutual satisfaction.
The Taiwan Mainland Affairs Council followed Ma in calling for democracy in Hong Kong...
Protecting Hong Kong people's basic human rights such as freedom of assembly and speech and allowing Hong Kong democracy to blossom "will not only guarantee Hong Kong's stability but will also play a significant role in the long-term development of cross-strait relations," the MAC said.The irony of Ma, who spent his political career fighting democracy in Taiwan until the late 1990s and was one of the last holdouts against repealing the national security laws in the early 1990s, calling for democracy in Hong Kong was not lost on observers here. There was also some laughter at Ma's irony-free praise of the Hong Kong protesters while excoriating the Taiwan protesters for hurting democracy, though both were doing exactly the same thing for pretty much the same reasons.
In his speech, Ma backed the democracy protests in Hong Kong and urged Beijing to fulfill its promise of a high degree of autonomy in the special administrative region.
It's not difficult to see why Ma might call for Beijing to give Hong Kong greater autonomy. Remember that the people of Taiwan and the KMT itself have rejected the One Country, Two Systems offers of a succession of Chinese presidents. But it is obvious that the KMT can't continue in power in Taiwan after annexing the island to China without local autonomy. China's Hong Kong policy, which continues to strengthen independence feelings in Taiwan and has dealt a body blow to US policy in doing so, is also putting a crimp in KMT plans to maintain power in Taiwan after the handover -- which they can't do without Beijing's cooperation. Ma's calls for Beijing to let Hong Kong have autonomy are really desperate pleas for Beijing to permit Hong Kong autonomy to save the KMT and to perhaps stop making annexation to China so unattractive to the Taiwanese.
Hong Kong is unlikely to hurt the KMT's chances in the local elections here in Taiwan next month, which are decided on local issues, but may well impact the 2016 presidential election campaign, which will begin in the latter half of next year.
- China engages in normal Chinese behavior of creating problem with nation it is currently negotiating with: as Premier Li visits Germany, Chinese employee of German newspaper is detained for pro-Occupy stance.
- Ministry of Finance orders inquiry into loans of state-owned banks in Taiwan loans to state-owned firms in China. Fears that local banks are too exposed (here).
- US poultry exports to Taiwan grow
- 2 scientists die as Taiwan research vessel sinks. The loss of the vessel is a major blow to marine science in Taiwan.
- Wolfowitz urges US weapons sales to Taiwan
- Liberty Times poll shows Lin Jia-lung with a massive lead in Taichung, 42-24. Those numbers feel ridiculous to me.
- Links: Taiwan Insider, Vol 1, No 3. From Thinking Taiwan
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