Taiwan’s prime minister says Hong Kong’s freedom and democracy ‘disappeared’

TAIPEI: Freedom and democracy are gone in Hong Kong, Taiwan’s prime minister said Friday, as Chinese leader Xi Jinping visited the business center to celebrate the 25th anniversary of Britain’s handover.
Xi used the rare trip to greet China’s rule of the city and insist it is thriving after years of political crackdown that has silenced dissent.
“You just have to see the pain Hong Kongers are going through to know if Hong Kong is getting better or worse,” Prime Minister Su Tseng-chang told reporters in Taipei.
“It’s only been 25 years and in the past the pledge was unchanged for 50 years,” he said, referring to Beijing’s promise that Hong Kong could keep key freedoms until 2047.
“The ‘dancing will go on and horses will still run’ is gone, and even freedom and democracy are gone,” he added, using a quote from former Chinese leader Deng Xiaoping who promised Hong Kongers that life would not change after the transfer.
The Chinese Communist Party has never ruled Taiwan, but considers the island part of its territory and has vowed to one day take it, by force if necessary.
It has offered Taiwan a One Country, Two Systems governance model, similar to Hong Kong, that supposedly would allow it to retain some freedoms and autonomy.
The offer has been rejected across Taiwan’s political spectrum, and Beijing’s crackdown on Hong Kong’s freedoms has further exacerbated that sentiment.
Su said Taiwan should hold on to its own sovereignty, freedom and democracy.
“China’s so-called One Country, Two Systems just didn’t pass the test,” he said.