Taiwanese sends 2,000 gas masks in show of support for pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong

Alex Ko pictured holding a gas mask in a church storage room. Image: BBC

DHARAMSALA, 19 Sept: A Taiwanese has sent 2,000 gas masks to pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong to protect them against tear gas regularly fired by the police, reported the BBC.

In recent weeks, when protesters were battling police on the streets of Hong Kong demanding universal suffrage, and their freedoms to be preserved by China, Alex Ko, didn’t just watch idly online, the report said.

The 23-year-old soft-spoken and bespectacled church official from Taiwan has launched a donation drive for gas masks, air filters and helmets at his church and collected more than 2,000 sets of such gear, and sent them to Hong Kong protesters to protect them against tear gas regularly fired by the police, the report said.

“I’ve never been to Hong Kong, but I feel I have no reason not to care,” he was quoted as saying in the report.

“As a Christian, when we see people hurt and attacked, I feel we have to help them. [And] As a Taiwanese, I’m worried we may be next,” he added.

Unlike Hong Kong a former British colony that reverted to Chinese sovereignty in 1997, Taiwan has been ruled separately since the end of the Chinese civil war in 1949.

However, Beijing claims self-ruled and democratic Taiwan as its own and views it as a wayward province to be reunified with China by force if necessary.

Fears that China will one-day control Taiwan and turn it into the next Hong Kong is what the report said has made Taiwan’s government and people the strongest supporters of Hong Kong’s protesters.

“We are not a part of China, it could invade us one day. By joining forces [with Hong Kong], we are stronger. One day we might need their help too,” ko has said in the report.

China meanwhile has accused Taiwan of being “black hands” fomenting the protests along with the US but the self-ruled island has repeatedly urged Beijing and Hong Kong’s authorities to respond positively to protesters’ demand for democracy – and fulfil their promises of maintaining freedoms and autonomy.

The Taiwanese youth has further advised the protesters to take a cue from Taiwan’s experience of using peaceful methods to achieve democracy and resort to non-violent means.

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