TAIPEI (Reuters) - Taiwan’s independence-leaning ruling party urged Beijing’s leaders on Wednesday to listen to the democratic aspirations of people in Hong Kong and to respect the rights of pro-independence representatives.
The comments by the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) are sure to rile Beijing, which deems Taiwan a wayward province that is part of China to be taken back by force if necessary.
Beijing has stopped official communication with self-ruled Taiwan because DPP leader and President Tsai Ing-wen refuses to acknowledge this “one China” principle.
On Monday, China’s parliament issued an interpretation of Hong Kong’s mini-constitution, or Basic Law, which effectively barred two pro-independence lawmakers from taking their oaths of office.
The move marked Beijing’s most direct intervention in the city’s legal and political system since the former British colony returned to Chinese rule in 1997.
“The government of Beijing and Hong Kong should listen to the aspirations of the people of Hong Kong eager to practice democracy,” DPP spokesman Yang Chia-liang said in a statement.
Yang said the DPP and the people of Taiwan were paying close attention to how Beijing handled “the problem in Hong Kong” and supported the right of Hong Kong people to choose their representatives by democratic means.
Hong Kong returned to Chinese rule under a “one country, two systems” agreement that ensured its freedoms, including a separate legal system. Beijing, however, has ultimate control and some Hong Kong people fear it is increasingly interfering to head off dissent.
Reporting by J.R. Wu; Editing by Paul Tait