One delegation of about 50, including a batch of young Hong Kong district councilors who stormed to a landslide electoral victory in November last year, has been networking with key civil leaders, academics and officials.
“We want to learn and gain more experience, to help Hong Kong people as they struggle on their democratic road in the future,” said Raymond Tang (鄧威文), a district councilor who attended an evening seminar in Taipei with fellow delegates on countering fake news.
The links between the two places have never been deeper: Hong Kong has been convulsed by more than seven months of anti-China protests and Taiwan’s elections come amid heightened fears of an increasingly assertive China under President Xi Jinping (習近平).
“There’s an acute sense of threat from China. What’s happened in Hong Kong has made everyone reassess its relationship with Beijing,” said Joseph Cheng (鄭宇碩), a veteran pro-democracy advocate and one of the delegation leaders.
“Democracy has taken root in Taiwan and it refutes the basic argument that democracy is for the West, that it doesn’t apply to Chinese people, which is the argument propagated by Beijing,” he added.