Why Do Taiwanese Empathize With Hong Kong Protesters?

Taiwan has provided tremendous support for the Hong Kong protests, including solidarity rallies and material supplies. Why would Taiwan care so much about Hong Kong aside from having a common “enemy”?

The News Lens
Date: 2019/11/21
By: Milo Hsieh

As the protests in Hong Kong continue, Hongkongers and Taiwanese around the world have demonstrated a surprising level of solidarity. Taiwanese have mobilized to send protest gear to Hong Kong, and coordinate activists to speak at events, organize protest support rallies and create “Lennon Walls” to raise awareness.

For two relatively separate groups of people that barely share a common language and have limited official contact, the level of solidarity today is especially impressive. But just what explains such spontaneous, global demonstrations of Hongkonger-Taiwanese solidarity?

Recalling memories of authoritarianism

Hong Kong was once a sanctuary for Taiwanese activists and liberals, when Hong Kong was free and Taiwan was not. But as Taiwan democratized in the 1990s and Hong Kong was returned to the People’s Republic of China (PRC) in 1997, the tables turned and liberty in Hong Kong was slowly eroded by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP).

The scenes of violence, chaos, and resistance to CCP authority we are seeing in Hong Kong today are eerily similar to the Taiwanese experience prior to the lifting of martial law in 1987. In Taiwan, memories of authoritarianism are both historical and present. In the past, the Kuomintang (KMT) regime frequently employed criminal gangs for crowd control. In present day Hong Kong, pro-unification gangs frequently harass pro-democracy activists.    [FULL  STORY]

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