Li Zhuming, the former Hong Kong Democratic Party Chairman, and Chenfang Anson, the former Chief Secretary, visited the United States and were received by ranking government officials. Meanwhile, Taiwanese students protesting the “cross-strait trade and services agreement” surprised the Taiwanese government.
If Lin Feifan, the student leader of the Taiwanese Sunflower Student Movement (太陽花學運), came to the U.S., would he receive the same hospitality and support? 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, met with members of the U.S. Congress, think tank officials, and members of the U.S.-Taiwan community.
Americans understand Hong Kong, but do they understand Taiwan?
Both Li and Chen are ordinary citizens, and they came to the U.S. 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 then 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. At the time, Hong Kong’s democrats were greatly encouraged.
In fact, Hong Kong democrats who fought for their election rights were similar to Taiwanese students who occupied the Taiwan Legislative building, and who stood against the controversial China trade agreement pushed through by then President Ma Ying-jeou. Students in Hong Kong and Taiwan both fought against the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) control.
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.
When Taiwanese students vacated their 24-day occupation of the Legislature building, both supporters and opponents were cheering. The result of their protests raised concern about the trade accord, which was forced to the legislative floor without proper due process. The new Democratic Progressive Party government has yet to obtain ratification on a bill supervising cross-strait talks and agreements.