Taiwan poised to flock from Hong Kong protests

TAIPEI / HONG KONG – Taiwan is preparing to welcome the people of Hong Kong who have fled their cities because they tighten China’s grip, but it is struggling to prepare and exclude Chinese spies who have little experience in handling island refugees and may try to join.

The one-year anti-government protests in Hong Kong have received widespread sympathy in democratic and Chinese-claimed Taiwan, welcoming those who have come before and await more.

Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen was the first government leader to take measures to help the people of Hong Kong, who, last month, dropped their democratic aspirations because of the tightening of Chinese controls, including the newly introduced national security legislation.

China refused to stifle Hong Kong’s freedoms and condemned Tsai’s offer.

Officials say Taiwan has been working on a humanitarian aid plan for expected arrivals for decades, as prudently as mainland as well as Hong Kong’s former British colony.

“Hong Kong is undoubtedly a priority for Tsai,” a senior government official familiar with the president’s opinion told Reuters. He added that the administration had allocated resources to manage the Hong Kong people.

A second person with direct information about the preparation said the plan would include a monthly allowance for living and rent, and shelter for those who could not find accommodation.

It’s too early to measure how many people can come, but Taiwan doesn’t expect the number to be more than thousands of people from Vietnam in the mid-1970s, and most are fleeing communist takeover from US-backed South Vietnam.

Shih Yi-hsiang of the Taiwan Human Rights Association said that since the protests broke out last year, nearly 200 Hong Kong people have fled to Taiwan, and about 10 percent have been granted visas under a law that protects the Hong Kong people at risk for political reasons. .

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For now, anyone who thinks to act because of banning the Hong Kong people as part of Taiwan’s effort to block the new coronarvirus has to wait, but Shih expects the number to jump after the ban is lifted.

“Very complicated”

Anti-government protesters from Hong Kong attended a rally outside Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen's headquarters in Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) in Taipei, Taiwan.
Anti-government protesters from Hong Kong attended a rally outside Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen’s headquarters in Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) in Taipei, Taiwan.Reuters

The second source said that since the 1970s, little government experience and worried that China could infiltrate pose spies as activists, the government urgently seeking experts for background research.

“This is a very complicated scenario that the Taiwan government has never been interested in,” says the source, which refused to be identified as information about the plans, was not made public.

“We didn’t think such things would happen in Hong Kong even in our dreams.”

China’s Taiwan Affairs Bureau did not respond to a request for comment.

A Taiwan government delegation, which includes security officials, will examine and grant visa applications that allow the Hong Kong people to study or work in Taiwan.

Shih said the government also needs specialists, from case management to counseling.

A senior Taipei-based Western diplomat said that Taiwan will achieve the most radical protesters and less prosperity, because those who have the vehicles would probably choose to go to countries like Canada or the UK.

26-year-old Tyrant Lau, who received an eight-month prison sentence for possessing weapons in Hong Kong last month, welcomed Tsai’s offer and said he is aiming to bring Taiwan home because of his democracy and low cost of living.

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“The only hope for protesters who cannot afford to move elsewhere,” Lau said, waiting for the border to open in Hong Kong.

“I hope I can live a normal life in Taiwan. I forgot how a normal life is. “

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