Hong Kong's Crisis Does Not Extend to Taiwan

Dennis V. Hickey
Reuters

Dennis V. Hickey

Security, Asia

Comparing the Hong Kong case to Taiwan’s situation is a bit of a stretch—some might even call it nonsense.

Hong Kong's Crisis Does Not Extend to Taiwan

In recent weeks, hundreds of thousands of protesters have taken to the streets in Hong Kong, a Special Administrative Region (SAR) of China, to protest against a controversial extradition bill cobbled together by Hong Kong authorities with the support of Beijing. Much ink has been spilled trying to explain the significance of the demonstrations. Some analyses are solid efforts that contribute to the conversation. Others are not—particularly those that somehow try to link the Hong Kong experience to Taiwan. Taiwan is not Hong Kong. 

Hong Kong was a British colony for over a century—it consisted of territories stolen from imperial China at different times during the nineteenth century (Hong Kong Island, Kowloon Peninsula and the New Territories). It was never a sovereign, independent state. The colony’s governor was selected by London—he was never elected by the people and Hong Kong was never a democracy. Moreover, the Hong Kong people had little or no say in determining the terms of the “handover” to mainland China in 1997. Since 1997, this SAR has been intended to serve as a show piece for Beijing’s “one country, two systems” reunification formula. The scheme was also applied in Macau, a former Portuguese colony. It has received mixed reviews in both SARS.

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