Tsai Ing-wen, the president of a rogue Chinese province of Taiwan, on Thursday refused Beijing’s offer to join together under China’s “one country, two systems” scheme. In a fiery speech, Tsai claimed that Beijing’s self-governing scheme has brought Hong Kong “the brink of disorder.”
Speaking at the presidential office building in Taipei, Tsai accused Beijing of “using” the scheme to threaten Taiwan’s “regional peace and stability," according to Fox News.
Under “one country, two systems,” Hong Kong – a former British colony – had retained an independent judiciary system. Under this arrangement, Hong Kong refused to extradite criminals to mainland China, which, according to reports, had caused vast numbers of Chinese criminals to flock into the city-state.
In 2019, the Hong Kong government proposed a bill to allow the extradition of criminals to entities outside of its jurisdiction, sparking massive protests over fears of prosecution. The protests continue to this day and the local government has accused protesters of conducting provocations and damaging city infrastructure, despite the bill that sparked protests in the first place was withdrawn by the authorities.
It appears the irony is lost on President Tsai, as the bill was introduced after an incident in which a Hong Kong tourist murdered his pregnant girlfriend during a visit to Taiwan. Taiwanese police could not bring the murderer to justice due to Hong Kong’s political status, according to reports. The Taiwanese investigation was cited by Hong Kong authorities when they introduced the bill this year – a factor often overlooked in discussions of the ongoing Hong Kong protests.
President Tsai’s remarks about China “using” a “one country, two systems” scheme to threaten Taipei fly in the face of Chinese President Xi Jingping’s January statement that Beijing will not tolerate Taiwanese attempts to secede from China, vowing to counteract a move by “any means necessary,” while advocating for “broad space for peaceful reunification.”
Tsai is currently bidding for re-election in January, and has made the fight for Taiwan’s independence from China a pillar of her campaign, a Fox News report says. Tsai appears ready to keep Taiwan apart from China even as only 15 island and Latin American nations recognize Taiwan as an independent state.
Neither Russia nor the EU currently recognizes Taiwan as a sovereign nation. Even the US, despite belligerent rhetoric and occasional warship deployments in the Strait of Taiwan, does not recognize a sovereign status for the island.
Tsai’s main political opponent, Han Kuo-yu of the Kuomintang party, advocates for closer ties with mainland China, the Fox News report says. According to a July report by The New York Times, Han, while also expressing skepticism about a “two systems” solution, accused Tsai of failing to improve people’s lives and insisted that closer ties to Beijing would lift Taiwan’s economy.