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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.

    17/01/2018 11:01:00 HONG KONG-CHINA
    Joshua Wong sentenced to three months in prison

    The Occupy Central activist guilty, along with 14 others, of contempt of court for blocking clearance of a protest site. Wong may present himself in the parliamentary elections.  Beijing pushes for maximum sentence. " They can lock up our bodies but they can't lock up our minds".

    21/08/2017 14:30:00 HONG KONG
    Tens of thousands protest conviction of student activists

    The protest rally was the biggest since 2014. Foreign pro-democracy activists and politicians criticise the court's decision, following the government’s appeal. Hong Kong’s chief secretary rejects the accusations, claiming that judicial independence is the foundation of the city's success.

    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".

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