Taipei, Sept. 4 (CNA) The ongoing protests against the Chinese communist regime in Hong Kong will not end until Hong Kongers have democracy, freedom and the right to elect their leaders, Hong Kong student activist and secretary-general of pro-democracy party Demosistō Joshua Wong (黃之鋒) said Wednesday.
"Our protest will continue until the day we have a free election," Wong said in Taipei shortly after Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam formally withdrew a proposed bill that would have allowed the extradition of criminal suspects to China for trial.
Although Lam's move marked a key turning point in Hong Kong's democratic movement, the withdrawal in itself is not enough, as Hong Kong faces a structural problem, which is that its people cannot elect their own government, Wong said.
It was during the numerous protests that have occurred over the past three months that the Hong Kong people have come to realize that the "one country, two systems" principle has fully collapsed and it was a matter of "now or never" to stand up against the authoritarian Chinese government, he said.
"One country, two systems" refers to a constitutional principle formulated by former Chinese leader Deng Xiaoping (鄧小平) during the early 1980s that suggests there is only one China, but distinct regions such as Hong Kong and Macao can provisionally retain their own economic and administrative systems.
Wong vowed that the protests will continue through Oct. 1 and that all five of the demands raised by protesters must be met. He also urged the Taiwanese public to join the movement, as the same tactic by Beijing could be applied to Taiwan as well.
Except for a full withdrawal of the bill, Lam did not meet the other demands, which are fully democratic elections, abandoning the term "riot" in describing the protests, an independent inquiry into police violence, and dropping prosecutions against those arrested so far.
Joint efforts between Taiwan and Hong Kong could bring real changes, Wong said, describing such collaboration as a process similar to the creation of Wikipedia, the influential online encyclopedia that makes knowledge easily available, as it brings people's voices together.
Wong said such a movement would also bring enlightenment, adding his hope that the Chinese public will realize that what Hong Kong and Taiwan are fighting for are universal values, which are democracy and freedom.
"Facing the Chinese communist regime, the world's largest authoritarian regime, we don't necessarily have to claim that 'we will win,' but we must say 'we don't want to lose,'" said Wong, who was joined by Hong Kong lawmaker Eddie Chu (朱凱迪) and Lester Shum (岑敖暉), former deputy secretary-general of the Hong Kong Federation of Students, as well as Taiwan lawmaker Freddy Lim (林昶佐) in a forum.