09/09/2014, 00.00
HONG KONG - CHINA
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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.

Hong Kong (AsiaNews) - Pro-democracy students who organise class boycotts would be like "triad gangs" should they "eventually incite students to participate in illegal acts," said Wong Kwan-yu, a member of the Alliance for Peace and Democracy and president of the pro-Beijing Hong Kong Federation of Education Workers.

For this reason, the alliance said on Monday that it was setting up a system for the public to report on class boycotts in secondary schools, threatening to make public the names of schools if it received multiple "verified" reports.

After Beijing said it would not allow a democratic vote for the post of chief executive in 2017, the Occupy central movement announced a "new ear" of civil disobedience in the former British colony.

In view of this, schools have now become a new battleground in the fight for universal suffrage and democracy in in Hong Kong. Indeed, students were among the first to respond, announcing a class boycott for the week starting on 22 September.

Wong said that the alliance would try to stop the strike. It slammed boycott organisers, saying that it would set up a hotline to allow the public to report on anti-Beijing class boycotts.

What is more, "There is no difference from triad gangs if the class boycott campaigners [. . .] eventually incite[d] students to participate in illegal acts," he said.

Such threats do not seem to be scaring off pro-democracy advocates. Occupy Central founder Benny Tai Benny Tai Yiu-ting said that a sit-in protest would go ahead to ensure Hong Kong lawmakers veto Beijing's restrictive reform model.

He hinted that the protest might not be the movement's first. "In this new era," he explained, "we may have an alternative system in building up the democratic capacity of Hong Kong people".

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