Chang Urges Hong Kong Not Cave To China Pressure

September 26, 2016

NewsStandOnline.Net (26-September-2016): Mainland Affairs Council Minister Katharine Chang yesterday expressed regret and discontent over the Hong Kong government’s decision to reject a Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) lawmaker’s visa application to attend a business forum in a private capacity, urging the Chinese special administrative region to refrain from succumbing to Beijing’s pressure.

“We find such a matter rather unreasonable. Visiting Hong Kong is [an individual exercising] the freedom to travel. Hong Kong should not cave in to pressure from Beijing and restrict our lawmaker from going there,” Chang said on the sidelines of a legislative session in Taipei yesterday morning.

Chang said the council regretted and was extremely displeased by the incident, pledging to continue to strive for Taiwanese rights.

Chang was referring to DPP Legislator Karen Yu’s recent application for a Hong Kong visa to attend this year’s Social Enterprise World Forum, an international event for social enterprises that started in Hong Kong yesterday and finishes tomorrow.

“I had booked a flight well in advance, scheduled to arrive in Hong Kong early yesterday morning, only to be notified on Friday last week that my visa application had been rejected,” Yu said.

Yu said she dedicated herself to the innovation of Taiwanese enterprises before entering politics and becoming a DPP legislator-at-large in January.  Yu was originally invited to give a speech at the forum as founder of Taiwanese fair trade coffee house Okogreen Co.

chang-urges-hong-kong-not-cave-to-china-pressure

Asked if she had encountered any difficulties obtaining a Hong Kong visa before, Yu said she visited Hong Kong once a year on average before becoming a lawmaker to attend citizen-led events and her visa application had never been denied.

“The annual forum is a significant international event, which I have been following since I attended its 2014 forum in Seoul,” Yu said, adding that the only reason she was not able to attend last year’s event in Milan, Italy, was because she was pregnant.

Yu declined to respond directly when asked whether she thought her visa denial was due to the May inauguration of the DPP government, saying only that she “regretted” not being able to attend the forum.

President Tsai Ing-wen administration’s refusal to acknowledge the so-called “1992 consensus” has prompted Beijing to suspend cross-strait communications and step up efforts to squeeze Taipei’s already limited international space.

The “1992 consensus” refers to a tacit understanding between the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) and Beijing that both sides of the Taiwan Strait acknowledge there is “one China,” with each side having its own interpretation of what “China” means. Former Mainland Affairs Council chairman Su Chi said in 2006 that he had made up the term in 2000.

DPP Legislators Chiu Chih-wei and Julian Kuo were also denied entry to Hong Kong last month.