• Fri
  • Dec 19, 2014
  • Updated: 2:38am
Occupy Central
CommentInsight & Opinion
LEADER

Occupy Central campaign should be called off

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 04 September, 2014, 5:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 04 September, 2014, 8:35am

If a campaign fails to achieve what it wants, it is natural to ask what went wrong. We are not sure if organisers of Occupy Central have done any soul searching on the civil disobedience movement. What is certain, though, is that there are growing doubts whether it should continue.

After Beijing imposed a tougher-than-expected electoral framework for the 2017 chief executive poll, Benny Tai Yiu-ting conceded the movement's strategy had failed. He also said public support was waning. The remarks have caught the pan-democrat allies by surprise, and sparked confusion over whether Tai was planning an exit. The university academic later clarified that the fight would go on.

Few would disagree that Occupy Central has failed. Co-founded by Tai and two others, the campaign seeks to press Beijing for what it calls genuine universal suffrage by threatening to paralyse the city's business district with 10,000 people. Although opinion polls show the community does not endorse such tactics, it has an appeal to some pan-democrat supporters: about 800,000 people joined its mock referendum on the preferred electoral model in June.

Those familiar with Beijing's thinking have long warned against such a step. They say Chinese leaders are not likely to yield to threats. From Beijing's view, Occupy Central is fraught with the danger of political interference from abroad. Worse, it risks being hijacked by radical groups and may end in bloodshed.

Evidently, Occupy Central did not bring Hong Kong closer to democracy. Some even accuse it of pushing Beijing into tighter restrictions. Despite the threats of class boycotts and protests, the National People's Congress Standing Committee is not going to change its decision. There is nothing wrong if the campaign is turned into a long-term battle aimed at instilling a stronger sense of democracy among the public. But if it pushes ahead with the occupy plan, it will bring chaos to the business district. Participants may also land in jail. However lofty the goal, it does not justify unlawful activities.

The people are understandably dissatisfied with the stringent electoral framework. They have every right to take to the streets and get themselves heard. But they should express their opinion in a peaceful and lawful manner. There are other legitimate means to pressure Beijing and the Hong Kong government for democracy. The organisers should call off the occupy plan.

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This article is now closed to comments

54065a5e-c1e8-4b1a-9294-08e00a3209ca
This is like a China Daily Editorial, no one should be taken in that SCMP speaks for the majority of the people in HK
scmpbeijing1
I'm sure this commentary will help the company's owners in their plan to make heaps of money in China. Congratulations for standing on the side of the Communist Party and abandoning the people of HK. Well-done.
ianson
The Party speaks through its representative Comrade Editor Wang.
edpranger
Is this the People's Daily or the SCMP?
hard times !
If not for this article, many readers might forget that the editor-in-chief of this long-time prestigious paper is a Mainlander whose thought/mind is different from most Hongkongers who were born and educated here in the past decades ! Right ?
53ae0c69-5e94-4706-924a-743c0a320969
Freedom of speech for pro-dems means freedom to speak only if you are on my side. Never see any of the pro-dem commentators complaining about the totally lopsided editorials in the fruit daily.
53ae0c69-5e94-4706-924a-743c0a320969
Please read what you have written. You are equating freedom of speech with the freedom to leave nasty comments! Even the great Larry Diamond may not agree that freedom of speech should include a freedom to abuse others.
BTW, I am not pro establishment. I am just anti- prodem because of their hypocrisy. You guys only work in binary mode.
mercedes2233
You want SCMP to write what you would like to hear only?
ubifrancehk
Why don't you write an editorial to ask Beijing to abide by the law as well ? As demonstrated by Michael Davis in your own paper, Beijing's decision disregards all the legal framework it set by its own. Don't always beat the same dog.
lucifer
I agree, and just like the campaign of the students and other citizens who protested in favor of political reform in Beijing in June of 1989...they failed to achieve their goals and were gunned down and run over by tanks for it. I suppose Occupy Central, which actually seems kind of dated will disband and some other form of civil disobedience will take its place. Most likely it will not be organized or willing to comply with the government's rules and will pose a greeter risk to social stability than Occupy Central ever did. The author, who preferred to be unnamed, is a naive fool. I am scared to see what is on the horizon.

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