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Universal suffrage will benefit Hong Kong and mainland China

Universal suffrage will benefit both Hong Kong and mainland China


President Ma Ying-jeou of the Republic of China (Taiwan) commented on Hong Kong’s Occupy Central movement on 29 September when he delivered a speech to the World Taiwanese Chambers of Commerce.

“Over the past few days, the situation in Hong Kong has attracted worldwide attention. The government and people of the Republic of China (Taiwan) are deeply concerned about recent developments, and I would like to take this opportunity to express our views and expectations.

Taiwan has had universal suffrage for some time, and each time we hold elections many of our Hong Kong friends come to Taiwan to observe the proceedings. We fully understand and support the Hong Kong people’s demand for universal suffrage.

As Hong Kong is an extremely important global financial center, any political turmoil that occurs there will impact not only Asia but the entire world. We therefore call on the mainland Chinese authorities to listen carefully to the demands of the Hong Kong people and adopt a peaceful and cautious approach to the current situation. At the same time, we urge Hong Kong residents to express their views in a peaceful and rational manner. We do not wish to see any conflicts.

Observers outside Hong Kong hope that it will gradually move toward democracy. We believe that, if a system of universal suffrage can be realized there, both Hong Kong itself as well as mainland China would benefit.”

President Ma Ying-jeou was recently awarded the Eisenhower Medallion by U.S.-based People to People International for his efforts in promoting regional peace. PTPI Chairman Micah Kubic said the honour came for Ma’s “efforts to further cross-cultural communications, for his extraordinary leadership, and for exceptional contributions to world peace and understanding.”

Ma is the first president of Taiwan and the second Taiwanese national to win the honour after Dharma Master Cheng Yen, founder of the Buddhist Compassion Relief Tzu Chi Foundation. Past recipients also include Nelson Mandela, Lech Walesa, Mother Teresa, Ronald Reagan, and nongovernmental organizations such as Doctors Without Borders and Save the Children.

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