• Fri
  • Dec 19, 2014
  • Updated: 5:18am
My Take
PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 22 May, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 22 May, 2013, 2:53am

Only real reform can calm Hong Kong's political volcano

A chubby, mild-mannered legal scholar seems to be disturbing the sleep of the high and mighty from Hong Kong to Beijing.

How else can you explain why four major local business groups denounced Benny Tai Yiu-ting's master plan to Occupy Central next year, including taking out advertisements in major newspapers this week? You have to give it to Tai for distinguishing himself as a pro-democracy protester extraordinaire in a town where a young family's idea of a weekend outing is to join a rally; and he hasn't even launched the mass protest yet.

I am not a supporter; I think his whole plan is more hype than substance. But people would launch mass protests as we approach the 2017 chief executive election whether Tai had thought of the Occupy slogan or not. It will, however, give our ruling elite an idea of the kind of social unrest and disobedience that would happen if we fail to deliver on a form of universal suffrage that could win over the pan-democrats.

The Beijing-loyalist Chinese General Chamber of Commerce and the Chinese Manufacturers' Association took out the adverts this week; and honchos from the Hong Kong General Chamber of Commerce and Federation of Hong Kong Industries took turns to warn of mayhem and Armageddon if Tai's plan went ahead.

What do they expect Tai to do? Change his mind and announce he wouldn't do it after all? If he did, they should be even more worried. People more radical, unruly and uncompromising would step in. It's instructive to examine their warnings. The protest could damage the economy, they say, and wipe billions from the stock market, billions I tell you! It would undermine the rule of law, affect our image and generally destroy our stable social environment. It would, in other words, do the kind of damage that dropping an atom bomb on Central would do. Let's not exaggerate.

Tai's embryonic movement is a symptom of a seismic shift in our body politic. This wellspring of discontent and anger demands change and involves not only young people but the middle and professional classes. It will not go away even if you shut Tai up. Only the most fundamental revamp of our system of government has any hope of stopping this political volcano from exploding.


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Universal suffrage is the target set by the Occupy Central organizers. The point for driving political reform with mass with heightened response from the business groups is instructive. The business sector in general in Hong Kong is a privilege group. It has occupied the Central much longer than it should with its privileges that granted since the colonial days. Its political power is clearly demonstrated in the makeup of the Legislative Council. The group members occupy the majority seats that voting on issues which narrowly of self-interest. Often abstaining vote as a block rendering the legislative council dysfunctional. The voting power is further concentrated in the hands of just a few when individual businesses belong to conglomerates. Hong Kong must undo such unreliable fair representation of interest in Legislative Council first. Hong Kong must be more inclusive in law making to attain its social stability. By the way, it is shocking to outsiders how functional constituency members can make a mockery of political process.
Hong Kong has had three CE including the current one. The interest presented by these leaders can be said in either for the exclusive business group or the inclusive general public. So far, we see Leung represents more an inclusive government just like Tung who was the first CE. Tsang the second CE, an insider from the colonial time should be considered for exclusive business group. Tung didn’t survive but Tsang did serve his full term. The lesson of Tung’s demise shows willful or precarious of his selection and position respectively. If Leung fails to survive like Tung, then we should all know the exclusive business groups is truly the political power still. That political power is exclusive. Universal suffrage may or may not work judging from Hong Kong's very short history of Hong Kong people ruling Hong Kong.
hard times !
fully agree with Alex Lo that once mild-mannered scholar, Benny Tai Yiu-ting is forced to withdraw his 'Occupy Central' movement which is itself a political gesture only to make the Beijing authorities to allow we Hongkongers to enjoy a geniune universal suffrage in 2017 of our chielf executive election.If Tai is shut up, the discontent and anger among our youth and professional class--mainly the middle class(including this Old Hong Kong maybe) will only be enhanced and heated.The political volcano will never be stopped from exploding ! It can be expected.Just wait and see.
I doubt. Why? Look at the party "people power" and pan dem. they fight amongst themselves all the time. hK people like to fight for everything and sue for everything for nothing like the 50 cents taxi driver case.
Dai Muff
And meanwhile FIVE of CY's team just get into trouble for other things. No wonder they have no time for in-fighting.
The whole point of a protest like Occupy Central is to do some economic damage, especially to the Central business elite that supports the status quo. The Pro-Dems should be grateful to the likes of the HKGCC for thus empowering their planned protest without even a banner being raised yet.


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