Taiwan warned against harbouring HK 'rioters'

Volunteers hand out posters supporting Hong Kong anti-government movement in Taipei on June 13, 2020.
Volunteers hand out posters supporting Hong Kong anti-government movement in Taipei on June 13, 2020.PHOTO: REUTERS

BEIJING • Taiwan's offer to protect Hong Kong "rioters" will only harm its own people and is an interference in the Chinese-ruled city's affairs, Beijing said, denouncing the Taiwanese government's plans to help Hong Kongers who flee to the island.

China's policymaking Taiwan Affairs Office said late on Friday that the plan by the "Democratic Progressive Party authority" - Beijing's way of referring to Taiwan's government - was a ploy to meddle in Hong Kong affairs and sabotage its stability and prosperity.

"Providing shelter for and taking onto the island the rioters and elements who bring chaos to Hong Kong will only continue to bring harm to Taiwan's people," it said.

The plots of forces that advocate independence for Hong Kong and Taiwan and also seek to damage the "one country, two systems" framework and split the nation will never succeed, it added.

Taiwan said on Thursday it will set up a dedicated office to help those seeking to leave Hong Kong as Beijing tightens its grip on the former British colony, including with a planned national security law.

The office starts operating on the sensitive date of July 1, the day Hong Kong returned to Chinese rule from Britain in 1997.

Months of anti-government, pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong have won sympathy in democratic Taiwan, which has welcomed those who have already moved to the island.

Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen last month became the first government leader anywhere to pledge measures to help Hong Kong people who leave their city, owing to what they see as tightening Chinese controls smothering their democratic aspirations.

China says the national security law will help return order to the global financial hub.

REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on June 21, 2020, with the headline 'Taiwan warned against harbouring HK 'rioters''. Print Edition | Subscribe