China’s planned national security law may prompt Taiwan to revoke the special status it extends to Hong Kong, President Tsai Ing-wen said, a move that could anger Beijing and make it harder for Hong Kongers to visit and invest.
China is proposing the new legislation for the Chinese-ruled city after months of anti-government protests, and the decision has already ignited renewed unrest in Hong Kong and prompted condemnation from Western capitals.
The demonstrators have won widespread sympathy in democratic Taiwan, and the support for the protesters by Tsai and her administration has worsened already poor ties between Taipei and Beijing.
China has repeatedly denounced Taiwan’s government for supporting the protesters, and accused activists in both places of colluding to plot independence.
Writing on her Facebook page late on Sunday, Tsai said the proposed legislation was a serious threat to Hong Kong’s freedoms and judicial independence and that Taiwan would provide the people of Hong Kong with “necessary assistance”.
Taiwan deals with Hong Kong and neighbouring Macau under rules that, for example, allow residents of the two Chinese cities to visit and invest in Taiwan much more easily than mainland Chinese.
Tsai said if there were a “change in the situation” in Hong Kong, the act laying out those rules could be revoked.