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May 30, 2017

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Ma backs pursuit of general elections in HK as Beijing fumes

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- Democracy and the rule of law are the core values of Hong Kong, and as it pursues a general election, the event is being closely monitored in Taiwan and will receive the full backing of the Taiwanese, said President Ma Ying-jeou yesterday.

The Hong Kong chief executive election of 2017 will pick the top official of Hong Kong. However, pro-democracy activists in Hong Kong have protested strongly against an election framework passed by Beijing on Aug. 31, saying it fails to reach international standards for a truly democratic and open election.

As chairman of the ruling Kuomintang (KMT) party, President Ma chaired the party's Zhongshan meeting and made the comment yesterday, according to a local news source.

In his comment, President Ma called on the Chinese government to be wise and tolerant of different ideals, and through conversations and peaceful measures find common ground with Hong Kong to satisfy local residents' demands and fulfill its promise to Hong Kong.

Only by doing so can the Chinese government quell local discontent and receive sustainable support from the people of Hong Kong, Ma said.

As democracy and the rule of law are also core values and have long been pursued in Taiwan, "we will keep monitoring Hong Kong's latest development, and express our support toward Hong Kong's pursuit for democracy and rule of law," said Ma.

Beijing Rebuffs Ma's Comment

Beijing was quick to make a response to President Ma's comment yesterday. According to Ma Xiaoguang (馬曉光), the spokesman of Beijing's Taiwan Affairs Office (TAO), as of Aug. 31, the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress already made a resolution on the candidates for chief executive of Hong Kong as well as the formation of the legislative body in 2006.

The general election guideline and mechanism are in alignment with the "one country, two systems" policy and comply with Hong Kong Basic Law, Ma Xiaoguang said, adding that the decision is suitable for the environment in Hong Kong and has received wide support among people in Hong Kong.

The spokesman called on Taiwan to respect Hong Kong's political development, and affirm the achievement made by Hong Kong in carrying out the "one country, two systems" policy.

Taiwan should engage in actions that are helpful to Hong Kong's prosperity and stability, actions that will facilitate cultural exchanges between Taiwan and Hong Kong and that will contribute to peaceful relations across the Taiwan Strait.

A minority in Taiwan, however, have made use of the general election subject to discredit the "one country, two system" policy, and by doing so, compromise Hong Kong's stability and prosperity while undermining cross-strait relations. This will arouse popular discontent, the spokesman said.

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