Americans Understand Hong Kong, but Do They Understand Taiwan?

Americans understand Hong Kong, but do they understand Taiwan? (Screenshot from Secret China)
Americans understand Hong Kong, but do they understand Taiwan? (Screenshot from Secret China)

Hong Kong’s 2017 election campaign for a Chief Executive is in full swing in Hong Kong. Democrats in Hong Kong have been on a hunger strike for several days.

Li Zhuming, the former Democratic Party Chairman, and Chenfang Anson, the former Chief Secretary, recently visited the United States, and were received by high level government officials. Meanwhile, Taiwanese students protesting the “cross-strait trade and services agreement” have surprised the world. If Lin Feifan, the student leader of the Sunflower Student Movement (太陽花學運), came to the U.S., would he receive the same hospitality and support? Well, two student representatives “were invited to Washington by the Formosan Association for Public Affairs (FAPA), and spoke at a press conference held in offices used by the National Democratic Party. The students, Wei and Huang, are meeting with members of the U.S. Congress, think tank officials, and members of the U.S.-Taiwan community,” according to an April 11 report in the Taipei Times.

Americans understand Hong Kong, but do they understand Taiwan?

Both Li and Chen are ordinary citizens, and they came to the US because they represent the Democratic Party. Not only were they invited to make a speech in a high-level political forum, but they were also received by Vice President Joe Biden.

Biden understands Hong Kong’s one country, two systems under China. He extended support to the Hong Kong people’s democratic aspirations. Hong Kong’s democrats are greatly encouraged.

In fact, Hong Kong democrats fighting for their election rights is the same as Taiwan’s students occupying the Taiwan Legislative building, standing against the controversial China trade agreement Taiwan’s President Ma Ying-jeou wants to quickly push through. People in Hong Kong are fighting against the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) control behind Leung Chun-ying; Taiwanese students oppose losing control to the CCP, with which Ma signed the agreement.

Taiwan and China signed a “cross-strait economic cooperation framework agreement” (ECFA) that is more than adequate for both sides. However, Ma insisted on having the cross-strait economic and services agreement include up to 80 different industries, such as banking, publishing, and hospitals to small mom-and pop shops like barbers and markets, in direct competition with local businesses in Taiwan.

Taiwanese students vacated their 24-day occupation of the Legislature building on April 10. Both supporters and opponents were cheering. The result of their protests is that in the future, Taiwan will gain legislative oversight of cross-strait negotiations, which will make any agreement behind closed doors impossible. The Cross-Strait trade and services agreement will be reviewed line by line, and at this point, it is equivalent to a stillborn child.

The students won on a sound footing. Do Americans understand the significance of such an outcome?

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