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  • » 09/12/2014, 00.00


    Occupy Central ready for a lavish democracy "banquet" in Hong Kong

    The "courses" include peaceful acts of civil disobedience to be held on an almost weekly basis. The first one will entail a 500-metre-long black banner to express Hongkongers' ire at Beijing's offer of universal suffrage. Chinese scholar warns that Beijing might restrict the territory's freedom. Catholic Church backs the student strike.

    Hong Kong (AsiaNews) - Occupy Central is preparing a lavish "banquet" for democracy whose main courses include peaceful actions as part of a campaign of civil disobedience.

    Occupy Central is made up of Hong Kong activists and citizens who want Beijing to keep its promise on democracy in the territory.

    As a start to the campaign, a protest is slated for this Sunday in which participants will parade a 500-metre-long black banner from Causeway Bay to Central to express Hongkongers' ire at Beijing's perceived insincerity in offering the city universal suffrage.

    The actual date and other details of the overall action are being kept secret, although participants have been informed, Occupy founder Benny Tai Yiu-ting said yesterday on the radio.

    The Occupy Central movement is carrying out its threat to stage a 10,000-strong sit-in in the city's business hub. The protest would take place on a public holiday to reduce inconveniences, Tai said. This will be the first of many protests, on an almost weekly basis, to make Hongkongers "wake up", Tai added.

    "We hope more Hongkongers will understand that even after the National People's Congress' decision, we still need to occupy and continue to fight for [true democracy]", he said.

    Tai was referring to China's official position on the election of Hong Kong's chief executive in 2017. Although Hong Kong's Basic Law, signed by Great Britain and China, sets up a real democratic process, the National People's Congress has determined that this will not be granted to the population. People can vote, but only for candidates selected by a pro-Beijing committee.

    Occupy Central's response has been the announcement of a new era of "civil disobedience", and the strike announced by student groups on 22 September is part of it. In view of this, the Catholic diocese, which runs 87 middle and secondary schools, will not punish students who go on strike.

    Card John Tong Hon, head of the diocese, told the church newspaper Kung Kao Po he shared the feelings of Hongkongers worried about Beijing's limits on nominations for the 2017 chief executive election. Card Joseph Zen Ze-kiun, bishop emeritus, in a comment to AsiaNews, wonders whether Occupy protests "provoked the Emperor's ire".

    Of course, Chinese authorities are concerned about the pro-democracy movement's renewed desire to demonstrate. In fact, Beijing could curtail Hong Kong's autonomy if actions such as Occupy Central go ahead, a mainland academic has warned.

    "If the Basic Law is not being recognised - as per Occupy Central's contention that it is draconian - I am afraid this relationship could only move towards political adjustment," said Professor Zhang Dinghuai, deputy director at Shenzhen University's Centre for Basic Laws of Hong Kong and Macau, in an article submitted to the South China Morning Post.

    For Occupy co-organiser Dr Chan Kin-man, Zhang had "completely misunderstood" the democracy movement. "Even if we undertake acts of civil disobedience, it can be handled by Hong Kong law. [. . .] It is frightening ... and dangerous for [Zhang] to suggest [that Beijing would adopt a political approach]."

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    See also

    27/10/2014 HONG KONG - CHINA
    Hong Kong after the revolution
    The pro-democracy Occupy Central movement frightened Beijing much more than the short-lived Jasmine Revolution. The government fears a "democratic infiltration" from the Special Administrative Region and will use every means at its disposal, including economics, to stop it. However, doing so it could destroy the country's most dynamic and innovative region. What follows is an analysis by an expert on China, courtesy of the Jamestown Foundation.

    27/04/2017 11:40:00 HONG KONG-CHINA
    9 activists arrested in preparation for Xi Jinping visit to Hong Kong

    Those arrested are all members of groups struggling for democracy. Attempt to “frighten" public opinion. China excludes political reforms within the next 10 years. The EU: universal suffrage would give more solidity to the territory government.

    15/12/2014 HONG KONG - CHINA
    Hong Kong, no more occupied site. Catholics "will keep the fight for democracy"
    The Occupy Movement's last occupied site of Causeway Bay, a business and shopping district, was cleared by police today. Yesterday PIME fr. Franco Mella presided the Mass: "Don't be upset. We should have hope, like John the Baptist, who prepared the way for Jesus Christ".

    09/09/2014 HONG KONG - CHINA
    Pro-Beijing official compares striking students to triad gangs
    Wong Kwan-yu, a member of pro-Beijing Alliance for Peace and Democracy, threatens a campaign of slander and denunciations against those who boycott classes for true democracy in Hong Kong. He compares protesters to criminal gangs. For Occupy Central founder Benny Tai, the struggle is just beginning; more demonstrations in favour of universal suffrage will take place.

    08/09/2014 CHINA - HONG KONG
    Beijing self-harming on the issue of Hong Kong democracy
    As Hong Kong students plan a weeklong protest as a "last warning" to obtain universal suffrage, the great dissident expresses his full support for the cause of Occupy Central, an issue that concerns the "whole of the Chinese population". He criticises the attitude of the national government for its lack of sincere self-criticism and understanding, and its prevarication. Courtesy of Radio Free Asia.

    Editor's choices

    Pope in Egypt: Egypt called to condemn violence and poverty in the Middle East

    In his address to Egyptian authorities, Francis stressed Egypt’s role and responsibility in the future of the region. "In the fragile and complex situation of today’s world, which I have described as ‘a world war being fought piecemeal’, it needs to be clearly stated that no civilized society can be built without repudiating every ideology of evil, violence and extremism that presumes to suppress others and to annihilate diversity by manipulating and profaning the Sacred Name of God.”

    A Muslim writes to the pope: Dear Pope Francis . . .

    Kamel Abderrahmani

    He admires the charity shown by the pontiff towards Syrian Muslim refugees, and his push in favour of love and against hatred. Islamic scholars are not like this, he says, they do not denounce Daesh’s hatred and do nothing for Christians. He calls on the pontiff to press President to Sisi and Al Azhar to reform Islam. Without this Al Azhar risks being the academy of world fundamentalism. Here is the letter from our friend and collaborator Kamel Abderrahmani.


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