Editor’s note: The following letter/commentary is written by Elliot Yi-lung Wang, the new director-general of the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in Atlanta, which serves as a de facto (although not official) consulate representing the interest of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for Taiwan in the Southeast U.S.
Mr. Wang has served as a Taiwanese diplomat since 1999, with stints in the U.S. and Europe, and recently arrived in Atlanta to replace former director general Vincent Jing-Yen Liu.
His response aims to share Taiwan’s position on the National Security Law the Communist Party of China recently imposed on Hong Kong, which criminalizes certain forms of dissent and has drawn widespread condemnation in the West. President Trump signed a bill to impose sanctions on Chinese officials and an executive order ending Hong Kong’s special trade treatment in retaliation against what it sees as a draconian law that undermines the “One Country, Two Systems” principal through which Hong Kong has operated with a separate legal system since the handover by the United Kingdom in 1997.
China says it only targets extreme actors who push for separatism or independence, terrorism, subversion of the central government or collusion with foreign powers. Investment recruiters say those engaged in legitimate business activities have nothing to worry about. But some have called it the death knell for Hong Kong’s freedoms and worry about its implementation. Many nations, including the U.K., have begun to explore offering a path to citizenship for Hong Kongers concerned about their future in the city.
The Taiwanese government has pointed to the swift imposition of the law, implemented presumably to quell long-running protests China blames on foreign actors, as evidence that China does not respect the international ideals of freedom and democracy.
Mr. Wang outlines why many say that Taiwan, a self-ruled democracy, risks its own autonomy eroding if the international community does not take a stand on this issue.
To the Editor,
The June 30 passage of China’s Hong Kong national security law has drawn our grave concern. The law, which has been criticized worldwide, expands China’s ability to erode the rule of law and freedom of speech in Hong Kong, thereby disregarding its autonomy.
The law’s consequences extend globally: Article 38 stipulates the CCP can prosecute anyone around the world who commits offenses against Hong Kong, and Article 43 requires foreign entities to report on activities concerning Hong Kong.
China’s imposition of this law shows its blatant disregard for norms and desire to change the status quo. It also confirms that China’s “one country, two systems” model has failed in Hong Kong and is unacceptable for Taiwan. Taiwan risks becoming the next Hong Kong. The U.S. and like-minded democracies have a key interest in the continued success of Taiwan, as it is a beacon of democracy and plays a critical role in the stability of Asia. Taiwan deserves the world’s support to prevent the spread of authoritarian rule and preserve hope for citizens living under oppressive regimes.
Taiwan will not stand idly by. Taiwan has launched the Hong Kong Humanitarian Aid Project and the Taiwan-Hong Kong Office for Exchanges and Services, which will assist Hong Kongers who wish to relocate to Taiwan to find jobs or study opportunities.
Taiwan will continue to work with global partners to foster freedom and democracy.
Elliot Yi-lung Wang
Director-General, Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in Atlanta