01/03/2014, 00.00
HONG KONG
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'Occupy Central' chooses Rev Chu Yiu-ming as its new leader

A veteran human rights activist, the Baptist minister is known for helping protesters escape following the massacre in Tiananmen Square. He was chosen because of his many connections with groups who want real democracy for the Territory by 2017.

Hong Kong (AsiaNews) - Meant to put pressure on the Hong Kong government to obtain democracy in the territory through peaceful protests, the 'Occupy Central' campaign has now a new a leader, Rev Chu Yiu-ming. In the next two weeks, the group, which has tens of thousands of supporters, will set up a task force to organise activities to achieve universal suffrage in the former British colony.

Rev Chu himself made public the move to appoint him as leader. He said two other leading organisers of the civil disobedience movement, Benny Tai Yiu-ting and Dr Chan Kin-man, wanted him "to take up" the role. The other strong candidate was Labour Party President Lee Cheuk-yan. However, "I have more connections with different activist groups, and experience in large-scale social campaigns," Chu said.

The Baptist minister is a well-known human rights activist in both Hong Kong and mainland China. He is known for having helped several protesters who fled the mainland following the Tiananmen Square massacre of 4 June 1989.

His appointment comes after 'Occupy Central' conducted a large survey involving 62,000 people. Poll results indicate that 94 per cent want the public have a say in nominating candidates, whilst 91 per cent voted against a "filter" mechanism to ensure the candidates were acceptable to Beijing.

The Catholic Church has backed these requests. In July 2013, the Hong Kong diocese issued an urgent appeal "to the government and all stakeholders" calling on the authorities not to delay the debate over "one person, one vote".

Universal suffrage "should enter into force in time for the election of the new Chief Executive", scheduled for 2017. Otherwise, in the light of the Social Doctrine of the Church and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the population has the right to engage in peaceful and non-violent civil disobedience.

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