Time right to move for constitutional democracy: Taiwan tells China

Taipei, Oct 10 (IANS) Taiwan Friday voiced “strong support” for the Hong Kong people seeking universal suffrage and asked the Communist-ruled People’s Republic of China (PRC) it is the most appropriate time to move towards constitutional democracy, saying the wish to enjoy greater democracy is the right of entire mankind.

Delivering his customary address on the National Day of Taiwan – officially called Republic of China – President Ma Ying-Jeou reminded PRC of its pledge 17 years ago to allow for 50 years the “rule of Hong Kong by the people of Hong Kong”.
“We again urge those on the other side of the Taiwan Strait to take note that now is the most appropriate time for mainland China to move towards constitutional democracy,” Ma said in a message to the PRC.
“Now that the 1.3 billion people on the mainland have become moderately wealthy, they will of course wish to enjoy greater democracy and rule of law. Such a desire has never been a monopoly of the West, but is the right of all humankind,” the president said during the annual parade and celebrations on the occasion.
Hoping that PRC – which Taiwan calls mainland China – as also Hong Kong and Macau would gradually forge ahead towards democracy, Ma said, “I would like to again express my strong support for the people of Hong Kong, who have been seeking universal suffrage in the election of their chief executive”.
Hong Kong has seen pro-democracy protests with thousands blocking main roads in the Asian financial hub for nearly two weeks.
The protesters have been demanding that the city’s Beijing-appointed leader Leung Chun-ying quit and the PRC allow Hong Kong’s people the right to vote for a leader of their choice in the 2017 elections.
He iterated that the development of democracy in PRC and Hong Kong will be determined by the wisdom and character that the “mainland Chinese leaders show in their attitude towards reform”.
Reminding the PRC that its former leader Deng Xiaoping – while pushing for reforms and opening up the mainland – had famously proposed 30 years ago of letting some people get rich first, Mao wondered: “Why couldn’t they do the same thing in Hong Kong, and let some people go democratic first?”
Refering to his country and PRC, Ma said: “People on the two sides of the Taiwan Strait share a common ancestry, culture and history, so we would of course be happy to work hand-in-hand with people in the mainland, Hong Kong and Macau, share their experiences and jointly seek the best way forward to political and economic reform in the mainland.”
(Shirshendu Panth can be contacted at s.panth@ians.in)