Hong Kong protesters seeking asylum in Taiwan

Antony Hook

Antony Hook

In a move that could add fuel to existing tensions between Taiwan and China, Taiwan said it will consider granting asylum to protesters from Hong Kong based on humanitarian concerns.

The Mainland Affairs Council would not confirm whether there are people from Hong Kong seeking political asylum, saying only that it has seen an increase in the number of Hong Kongers inquiring about residency in Taiwan.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said during a Friday briefing: "My advice to certain people on the island is, don't pretend to be compassionate". "They themselves are no more than clay Buddhas".

Hong Kong is a Chinese territory that has been rocked over the last month by massive protests against an extradition bill that would allow residents to be tried in mainland China.

The Taiwan Association for Human Rights, a top local non-governmental organisation, would not comment on the asylum cases.

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"We can not divulge any information regarding any individual case", said its secretary-general Chiu E-ling. "If there are individuals who approach us for help, we'll interview these people and help them get in touch with government officials if that is what they wish".

The day marked the 22nd anniversary of Britain's handover of Hong Kong back to China in 1997. In line with demonstrators' demands, they also urged for an independent investigation into the use of force by the Hong Kong police, as well as universal suffrage for the city under the Basic Law.

The European Parliament is to debate a resolution on the situation in Hong Kong on Thursday, calling for "appropriate export control mechanisms" to deny access to technologies that could be used to violate human rights.

"The more repressive they are, the more the global community will condemn or consider Hong Kong as having become a more repressive political system".

It refutes claims by China that the Sino-British Joint Declaration of 1984 is a historic and invalid document, and said that Beijing is still bound in its duty to uphold Hong Kong's high degree of autonomy and its rights and freedoms.

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