Taiwan’s president vows to support Hong Kong after newspaper closes

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Taiwan’s President Tsai Ing-wen on Thursday expressed sadness over the closure of the pro-democracy Apple Daily tabloid in Hong Kong and vowed to keep supporting the city’s fight for freedom.

Tsai’s comments come on the same day the newspaper founded by tycoon Jimmy Lai in 1995 in Hong Kong published its last edition.

Tsai said that for people in Hong Kong, after the city’s handover to China in 1997, the Apple Daily was not just a newspaper, but a beachhead eagerly pursuing democracy and freedom fearlessly.

“I want to tell the people of Hong Kong that Taiwan will always stand with you in your struggle for freedom,” Tsai said on Twitter.

Stressing that freedom-loving people should look out for each other, Tsai said the international community has expressed concerns over the deterioration of democracy and freedom in the former British colony.

Taiwan’s lawmakers and political parties also condemned Chinese authorities and the Hong Kong government for undermining freedom of speech in Hong Kong in the name of the national security law.

Taiwan’s ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) said the situation in Hong Kong had sent Taiwan the message that promises by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) could be revoked.

“Taiwan must firmly defend national sovereignty and democracy” as well as oppose the model of One Country, Two Systems that Beijing used to bring Hong Kong back under its control, said the DPP.

Taiwan has had an independent government since 1949, but China considers the democratic island part of its territory.

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