09/24/2014, 00.00
HONG KONG - CHINA
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Occupy Central calls on Hongkongers to join in its "democracy banquet" on 1 October

The chosen date is no accident. In mainland China, it marks the anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic. "While others celebrate [. . .], we will [. . .] push for Hong Kong's democracy," said Occupy Central founder Benny Tay. A survey conducted by the University of Hong Kong found that the government's popularity is at its lowest level since June 1995.

Hong Kong (AsiaNews) - Occupy Central organisers have invited the people of Hong Kong to the first "democracy banquet" in Chater Garden. The date is 1 October, anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic and mainland China's national holiday.

"While others celebrate the big day for the country, we will also serve a banquet in Central to push for Hong Kong's democracy," Occupy Central founder Benny Tay said in the post on Facebook.

This is the first official step the group is taking following Beijing's decision against democratic reform that would have allowed Hongkongers to elect freely the city's chief executive in 2017.

Rather than providing for a process leading up to responsible government, as mainland China had promised, the National People's Congress came up with a proposal that gives Communist authorities the means to monitor and shape the vote.

A 1,200-member committee that includes pro-Beijing business and political leaders has to approve the two or three candidates authorised to run.

People who support democracy are welcome to attend the "banquet" or just to watch it, Tai said in a Facebook post yesterday.

On Facebook, Occupy Central also asked people who plan to join the meeting to bring food, drinks, spare batteries for phones, sleeping bags, and a change of clothes.

Occupy Central has in fact applied to the police for a gathering of as many as 50,000 people at Chater Garden, in the city's business district.

The peaceful sit-in is not the only thing going on. Thousands of students are boycotting class, until Saturday, backed by hundreds of professors and intellectuals, who believe the younger generations represent real hope for the people of Hong Kong.

Yesterday, security staff and police held a dozen "striking" students at bay after they tried to talk to the city's chief executive, Leung Chun-ying's, as he left his office.

Meanwhile, the authorities' contempt for the pro-democracy movement is starting to bear fruit.

A survey conducted by the University of Hong Kong found that the government's popularity is at its lowest level since June 1995.

Some 52 per cent of the 1,000 people interviewed by telephone between September 4 and 11 said they did not trust the central government, while only 30 per cent expressed trust.

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