Taiwan President Calls for Democracy in China, Hong Kong

Allowing genuine universal suffrage in Hong Kong will help boost Taiwan-China relations, the island’s President Ma Ying-jeou said, endorsing the pro-democracy demonstrations in the former British colony.

“Now is the most appropriate time for mainland China to move toward constitutional democracy,” Ma said today in a speech to mark National Day at a ceremony in front of the presidential building in Taipei.

Learning from former Chinese leader Deng Xiaoping’s reform pledge 30 years ago of letting some people get rich first, China can let Hong Kong people have democracy first, Ma said. Protesters blocking miles of roads in the city plan a rally tonight after Leung Chun-ying’s government called off talks aimed at ending the two-week standoff.

Taipei-Beijing relations have been at their warmest in more than six decades since Ma, who took office in 2008, moved away from the independence-leaning policies of his predecessor Chen Shui-bian. The 1992 Consensus of “one China, respective interpretations,” has been the foundation of the past six years of peaceful cross-strait ties, he said. “We have stood firm and consistent on this stance,” said Ma, who is serving his second and final term ending 2016.

Ma said Taiwanese people are willing to share their experience of democracy with China, Hong Kong, and Macau. With Chinese people becoming moderately wealthy, they will wish to enjoy greater democracy and rule of law, he said.

“Such a desire has never been a monopoly of the West, but is the right of all humankind,” Ma said.

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