Taiwan backs democracy push

September 03, 2014 - 1:41:04 am

TAIPEI:  Taiwan’s President Ma Ying-jeou, who initiated detente with China, yesterday threw his support behind Hong Kong’s push for democracy -- calling it a core value shared by Taiwanese people.

His support comes after pro-democracy activists in Hong Kong vowed a new “era of civil disobedience” in front of thousands of supporters at a Sunday rally after Beijing crushed hopes for full democracy.

“Democracy and rule of law is also the core value of people in Taiwan and the long-term goal of our pursuit,” Ma, also chairman of the ruling Kuomintang party, said during a party meeting.

“While keeping our concerns about the development in Hong Kong, we’d also like to voice our support for the pursuit of democracy and rule of law by the people in Hong Kong.”

Ma called on Chinese and Hong Kong authorities to hold dialogues with pro-democracy advocates and respect the will of the majority of the people in the former British colony.

“Only this way could Hong Kong’s social unrest be eased and long term and stable support from the people of Hong Kong be secured,” Ma said.

The standing committee of China’s National People’s Congress on Sunday said Hong Kong citizens will be allowed to elect their next leader in 2017.

But candidates must be chosen by a pro-Beijing committee.  Candidates must also win the backing of more than half of the committee members to stand.