• Wednesday, Dec 01, 2021
  • Last Update : 11:38 am

Fear of arrest in Hong Kong over Taiwan national day

  • Published at 04:09 pm October 9th, 2021
Hong Kong Police
File Photo: Riot police ask people to leave to avoid mass gathering during a protest against the looming national security legislation in Hong Kong, China June 28, 2020 Reuters

October 10 marks the anniversary of the 1911 uprising which ushered in a new Republic of China (ROC)

 For more than 50 years, Ng Hong-lim has led celebrations in Hong Kong to mark Taiwan's national day -– but this year he fears doing so could get him arrested.

"I don't think there will be another chance," Ng sighed. "It's really regrettable." 

October 10 -- known as "Double Ten" -- marks the anniversary of the 1911 uprising which ushered in a new Republic of China (ROC).

After losing China's civil war to the communists in 1949, the Kuomintang (KMT) fled to Taiwan, where the mantle of the republic lived on -- along with its national holiday.

In Hong Kong, KMT supporters have long displayed Taiwanese flags and marked the day in grand style.

Communist China has long recognised the date's broader historical significance, but officials in Hong Kong are now loath to allow open displays of pro-Taiwan sentiment, as efforts to snuff out any hint of public opposition grow.

Hong Kong's security chief Chris Tang last month warned that celebrating the "Double Ten" could constitute support for Taiwanese independence -- a crime under the city's draconian new security law.

But Ng says the festivity bears no link with separatism.

"Now we are not allowed to express it, but we still remember it in our hearts," the octogenarian told AFP at a pro-KMT union office in Hong Kong, where an ROC flag and portrait of Chinese revolutionary Sun Yat-sen are displayed.

Born on the Chinese mainland, Ng fled to Hong Kong in the 1950s.

At the age of 15, he left for Taiwan and joined the army in hopes of defending the ROC -- to which he still pledges unwavering allegiance.

Following security chief Tang's warning last month, restaurant bookings for more than 100 tables by Ng's group was abruptly cancelled. 

Hong Konger Lee Kwok-keung has fond childhood memories of boisterous "Double Ten" celebrations.

"Lots of blue-sky clear-sun flags were hung up, covering mountains and streets," Lee, chairman of a pro-KMT trade union, told AFP, referring to the Taiwanese flag.

Those flags disappeared from the streets following Hong Kong's handover to China in 1997, but were permitted at mini-galas, where KMT stalwarts would sing patriotic songs and bow to the portrait of Sun.

'Always supported unification'

China regards Taiwan as part of its territory awaiting unification, by force if necessary.

There, the KMT -- now in opposition -- is seen as a pro-China party.

"We have always supported unification and opposed separatism," said Lee.

"If one bans us from holding celebratory events and says celebrating October 10 is separating Taiwan from China, that's adding a crime on us."

Sorting piles of photos from the days he soldiered in Taiwan, Ng said he had no choice but to do nothing on October 10.

Both Lee and Ng said they would not "test the red lines" under the national security law, but still hope to commemorate the day in the future.  


55
Facebook 54
blogger sharing button blogger
buffer sharing button buffer
diaspora sharing button diaspora
digg sharing button digg
douban sharing button douban
email sharing button email
evernote sharing button evernote
flipboard sharing button flipboard
pocket sharing button getpocket
github sharing button github
gmail sharing button gmail
googlebookmarks sharing button googlebookmarks
hackernews sharing button hackernews
instapaper sharing button instapaper
line sharing button line
linkedin sharing button linkedin
livejournal sharing button livejournal
mailru sharing button mailru
medium sharing button medium
meneame sharing button meneame
messenger sharing button messenger
odnoklassniki sharing button odnoklassniki
pinterest sharing button pinterest
print sharing button print
qzone sharing button qzone
reddit sharing button reddit
refind sharing button refind
renren sharing button renren
skype sharing button skype
snapchat sharing button snapchat
surfingbird sharing button surfingbird
telegram sharing button telegram
tumblr sharing button tumblr
twitter sharing button twitter
vk sharing button vk
wechat sharing button wechat
weibo sharing button weibo
whatsapp sharing button whatsapp
wordpress sharing button wordpress
xing sharing button xing
yahoomail sharing button yahoomail