As doors to China open, will Taiwan become another HK?
The China Post news staffIs Taiwan falling into the same predicament as Hong Kong, in the sense that it is also being threatened by some of the major problems that the former British colony has faced since returning to Chinese rule?
September 6, 2013, 12:02 am TWN
Some Hong Kong residents obviously think so. A few hundred pro-democracy activists ran an advertising campaign in newspapers in both Hong Kong and Taiwan earlier this week, demanding that unpopular Hong Kong Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying step down because of his failure to solve these problems.
They also warned Taiwan of the risks of opening its doors wider to China. They said for Hong Kong, Taiwan is the “last fortress” defending democracy, and “without Taiwan, Hong Kong's existence will become meaningless.”
That is both a great compliment to Taiwan's democratic institutions and an indictment of President Ma Ying-jeou's China-friendly policies, which the pro-democracy Hong Kong activists imply are being implemented at the cost of Taiwan's fundamental values — both political and social.
Whether or not their observations and apprehensions are founded in reality, the campaign does reflect the people of Hong Kong's increasing affection for Taiwan.
Back in the 70s, Hong Kong residents knew very little about Taiwan, except for, perhaps, the fact that it was ruled by the Kuomintang, that there were “Alishan girls” and that its beef jerky was delicious.
But times have changed. The number of Hong Kong tourists has been rising fast in recent years and their understanding of this island republic has also been growing in depth.
A few years back, few of them knew about Kenting. But the beautiful beaches of the southernmost tip of Taiwan are now some of the favorite destinations for Hong Kong tourists.
One Taiwanese magazine's latest cover story concerned Hong Kong's increasing “passion” for the island nation.
Some commentators have pointed out that this passion actually stems from Hong Kong people's frustration at their own domestic situation and their admiration for the Taiwanese, who can enjoy the kind of life that has been denied them by China.
The people of Hong Kong can only dream about a democratic government as well as being allowed to elect their head of government. They were promised so before the British left, but since then popular elections have remained a dream, without any sign that they will ever become a reality.