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  • Aug 22, 2014
  • Updated: 9:42am
My Take
PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 26 March, 2014, 5:12am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 26 March, 2014, 5:22am

Hong Kong's Occupy Central movement may take on shades of Taiwan protest

We all know how Occupy Central will play out if its organisers go ahead with it - exactly like the scenes of mayhem in Taipei we have just witnessed this week. Organiser and academic Dr Benny Tai Yiu-ting has called it Occupy Central with Love and Peace. He sounds almost like a hippie.

His protest colleague and fellow academic, Dr Chan Kin-man, says all peaceful and legal means will be tried before resorting to civil disobedience, which by definition, is illegal.

But he warns they may have to push forward the planned "occupation" to this summer, rather than wait till the end of the year, as Tai has hinted. Apparently, the occupation of the parliament by Taiwanese student protesters and their failed bid to take over Taiwan's cabinet building has energised their counterparts in Hong Kong. So perhaps, besides blocking roads in Central, they will now make an attempt on the Legislative Council and the government headquarters as well.

Seeing what just happened in Taiwan, perhaps we can forgive the central government for switching the venue for the Asia-Pacific Economic Co-operation (Apec) forum for finance ministers and central bankers from Hong Kong to Beijing.

Wherever such mass protests occur and whether against Wall Street, the financial City of London, austerity measures in Madrid or Athens, or G7, G20 or World Trade Organisation meetings, they always end in tear gas, pepper spray and batons. Tai and Chan seem to have spent too much time in their ivory tower to think they can control their protest movement when it goes live. I don't question the two men's sincerity. I just wish they lived in the real world.

Since their beef is with the government, perhaps they should "occupy Admiralty" and the government headquarters instead of inconveniencing the public in Central. There is no way they can control the movement and all its hotheads once the protest starts. Chan says if the government is sincere about "genuine" democratic reform, there is no need to occupy Central district.

But of course, even if Chan and Tai change their mind now, they can't stop it. The Occupy movement has built up an unstoppable momentum of its own beyond their control.

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This article is now closed to comments

321manu
Are all "Occupy's" really created equal, as Mr. Lo tries to seemingly suggest? All his examples (including the G20s etc) have to do with economics and wealth disparity at heart. The 99% raging against the one-percenters, if you will, both on societal and national levels.
That's not the purpose of Central. It's actually more fundamental than that. Those 99% and the 1-percenters of the other protests already possess and share the political rights that the Central protesters would be trying to argue for, to be granted to Hkers. So while the name is the same, the objectives are quite different. Unless Mr. Lo objects to any and all protests out of principle (in which case I'd question his principles), I wonder why he is so exercised about this one.
Mr. Lo seems to simply abhor the concept of this occupy protest, and that's his right. But (thankfully for now) Hkers still have the right to peacefully protest, and they should exercise it if they see fit. I share Mr. Lo's distaste for violence. And of course, i would not be surprised if the CCP sent in one of theirs to throw out the ceremonial molotov just to get things started.
nmp_inc
Economic and political violence against the middle classes and grassroots - made legal through business-government collusion - are apparently fine with Alex and the bankers and tycoons he so worries about. While its indisputable that many HK academics live in an Ivory Tower, Lo and his patrons live in a Platinum Tower. They would be well advised to head the warnings given at the Davos meeting this year and the uprisings spreading across the world that robber baron capitalism and growing economic inequality is unsustainable. HK leads the advanced capitalist economies in gross inequality and since the Handover the middle class has shrunk and the rich, richer. A democracy - or even a competitive authoritarian system like HK's - cannot function when its been corrupted by political and economic elites which is why you are seeing a break-down in social cohesion. Whether its 'Communist Party' or the 'Tycoon Party' in HK, both are equally dangers to prosperity and stability for ALL Hongkongers.
mh0908
Occupy Kowloon please! There is a big piece of land at Kowloon West. Perfect for camping out for a long period of time!
sudo rm -f cy
In my opinion, the Party *wants* violence to break out, in order to "justify" their heavy-handedness in dealing with the Occupiers and to "justify" Article 23 legislation. They'll happily start the riot themselves if necessary.
pslhk
What next after the farcical occupy?
This question addresses two kinds of problems
One is about immediate consequences that are uncertain
The other is about ongoing practical issues
of livelihood and development
-
suffrage and practical government is like
one-night-stand and marriage
hankering after the thrill of one night stands
self occupied bigots can’t appreciate what marriage entails
-
The “invisible” hands of anglo-american secret agents
are behind disturbances brewing in HK and Taipei
The US is anxious to stop the development
of closer relations between the governments across the strait
chau98sg@gmail.com
As a middle class Hongkonger, what is happening right now in Taipei really get me worried. Surely Hong Kong does not want to become another Taiwan or Thailand. Now we are seeing those politicians and even professors from universities in Taiwan spreading lies to scare those poor young students. Those student leaders, who are close to 30 years old, are actually professional activists from the opposition party. There may be a small group of people in HK are getting excited with what is happening over there, and think they can do the same in HK. But I think we Hongkongers are more rational than getting aroused by a small group of people who have their own motivation instead of the good of Hong Kong.
Lifexcels
Indeed, living in the real world is what life is truly all about Seeking to emulate protests or engage in civil disobedience is not the ethical moral and wise approach at all We have all been taught priceless values that we need to live in goodwill and harmony with one another
We need to diligently strive with utmost discipline in progressing along the lines of academic industrial scientific and technological innovation with pure intentions
We can utilize the very same opportunities that we have been given to achieve and create rather than to put forth any announcements or gain inspiration from some pathways that are not conducive to who we truly are please
The world is watching and more than the gaze of the world it is our own consciousness that is witnessing the deviation that we are adopting by paying attention to what's wrong, what's going wrong and then seeking to proclaim wrongness as the right way? Righteousness calls for being, honoring, respecting and valuing the healthy and conscious image that we hold of ourselves and others
Life is not lived really until we have really understood its greatness which teaches us to make the world proud of us by firstly making ourselves feel proud of the world and doing what it takes to be authentic, right, real and genuine for we have got what it takes, so let us live by our ideals, our values and our principles which inspire us to be sincere in all that we think, do and express and truly stand for really based on reality please
honkiepanky
"Wherever such mass protests occur ... they always end in tear gas, pepper spray and batons."

Yes, and it will probably be so here, too. Does that mean it's not worthwhile? The question of whether we can choose our own leaders freely, or have to choose from a pre-screened set of pro-tycoon candidates selected for their loyalty to Beijing, is probably the most important issue in Hong Kong in a generation.

The fact is that civil disobedience is often effective in changing government behavior and priorities -- even if the protesters are treated harshly. And one lesson HK has learned well is that if the government is on autopilot towards a bad policy (national security legislation, national education, etc) the only way to make them change track is to get a lot of people on the streets.
kctony
Get this straight. Their beef is not with the government, but Beijing.
When people with special interests like Li Ka-shing and Rita Fan say Occupy Central will hurt the Hong Kong economy, they never explain how. They sure know that those frequent mass protests in New York and London have no effect on the business there. Liars.
To compare the Taiwan student protests with Occupy Central is silly. OC participants will be prepared to be arrested by the police. Those students are not.
What Benny Tai & Company must exercise extreme caution is the probability of infiltrators instigating violence. Then Article 23?
honger
Will Tai and Chan be at the frontline? If a crush does occur and the mob goes unruly, the two ringleaders should be the first to face the pepper spray and water cannons and not use students as their shield. Nobody can control a mob, and they shld experience that first hand.
Tai and Chan shld be legally responsible for the potential loss of business for all involved in Central. Perhaps the taxi drivers and business owners could take a class action against them.

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