09/19/2014, 00.00
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Occupy Central adopts "Taiwan model" for protests

The goal is to maintain calm during demonstrations, as the 'sunflower' movement did in Taipei, which forced the Taiwan government to back down on a trade pact with Beijing. The behaviour of pro-Beijing officials is eliciting growing disdain. They are "resorting to red-guard tactics to resist change".

Hong Kong (AsiaNews) - The next street demonstrations organised by Occupy Central in favour of democracy in Hong Kong will follow Taiwan's 'sunflower' movement: no impulsive behaviour, violent provocations or masks to hide one's identity.

The movement's leaders want their action to be peaceful and non-violent. They want members to demonstrate safely, without violent police responses.

Speaking to South China Morning Post, Chan Kin-man, one of the organisers of Occupy Central, made explicit reference to the events that took place in Taipei about six months ago.

Thanks to those protests, the Taiwanese authorities had to backtrack on trade pact with Beijing whilst violent clashes and summary arrests were avoided.

"Both movements share the principle of peaceful struggle," Chan said, but "the sunflower movement was ad hoc and we have gone through a much longer period of discussion beforehand".

Self-policing was necessary, he explained, to prevent some participants from taking more radical action, he added. Soon, this will be put to the test.

Occupy is expected to block streets in the heart of the city after Beijing set tight restrictions on Hong Kong democracy by restricting candidate nominations for the 2017 chief executive election.

Another "hot" event is the strike of the students set for next Monday. The Hong Kong Student Federation of Students has called on all secondary school students in the Special Region to boycott classes for a week.

The pro-Beijing faction has reacted by saying that "activists were not much different from triad gangsters," and threatened reprisals against schools that do not punish students.

In an editorial, Albert Cheng - a well-known face on Hong Kong television in Hong Kong, better known as "Tai Pan" - responded, lambasting the "Beijing mouthpieces" who "Instead of lowering the political temperature, [. . .] have often ended up inciting more discontent."

The "line-up of talking heads" trying to argue the mainland's case are "the usual ultra-conservatives hand-picked as NPC delegates and members of the Executive Council. They include Elsie Leung Oi-sie, Rita Fan Hsu Lai-tai, Maria Tam Wai-chu, Fanny Law Fan Chiu-fun and Arthur Li Kwok-cheung.

"Their smear tactics and the proposal to out the people who will participate in the student strike, he explained, are a "reminder of tactics employed during the Cultural Revolution, when people were urged to betray even those closest to them in the interests of the party."

"These pro-Beijing figures in Hong Kong are typically aged over 60 and thus witnessed the catastrophe of the Cultural Revolution. They often seek to compare the student activists to Mao Zedong's red guards", but they are the one "resorting to red-guard tactics to resist change."

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