Occupy Central

How Occupy Central can best be countered

PUBLISHED : Friday, 06 June, 2014, 5:27am
UPDATED : Friday, 06 June, 2014, 5:27am

While I agree with Selina Lau ("Self-proclaimed lovers of democracy are actually absolutists", June 2) that Occupy Central could pose a threat to Hong Kong's stable society, the movement will most likely continue, whether we like it or not.

The campaign is motivated by:

  • People on low-incomes clamouring for a higher minimum wage;
  • Public housing applicants facing long waiting lists;
  • Unemployed youths calling for more job opportunities;
  • Parents complaining about the shortage of school places;
  • Social workers highlighting inadequate health services; and,
  • Disabled, ethnic minority and gay rights groups all having an axe to grind.

These perennial problems are deeply rooted in the city's social, economic and political fabric. The underprivileged blame people from the business sector and elites who benefit from society. They also blame the undemocratic political system and see universal suffrage as the panacea for social ills. The call for a public nomination system for the chief executive election in 2017 could be a gimmick seized by the so-called democrats for political reasons.

Occupy Central organisers have some misguided notions. Democracies the world over adopt different democratic systems. There are no set international standards to be applied.

Occupy Central's strategy is flawed. Why does it not target the SAR government's headquarters, just as the students of the Sunflower movement in Taiwan targeted the Legislative Yuan with a well thought-out plan that won the support of the people? Occupy Central should consider the possible impact of its campaign in the heart of a city of seven million people, and the possible hijacking by radical elements.

I respect Occupy Central leaders' willingness to bow out if fewer than 100,000 people cast their votes at its June 22 civil referendum. However, the movement could paralyse the city's vibrant economy, and things could get violent, which is a departure from its original concept of civil disobedience.

Ms Lau's idea to conduct a city-wide opinion poll to gauge public support for Occupy Central might prove too costly and one has to ask what weight Beijing would give the poll.

What is needed is a massive public relations campaign financed by big business and masterminded by professional spin doctors. It would urge people to give up confrontation and go for dialogue with the central government. Hong Kong people supporting genuine consultations on democracy is the best way to counter Occupy Central before it's too late.

Patsy Leung, Mid-Levels