Party papers accuse Occupy Central organisers of ‘colluding with Taiwan Separatists’

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 24 October, 2013, 7:00pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 24 October, 2013, 8:00pm

The Communist Party’s flagship newspaper has attacked the pro-universal suffrage Occupy Central movement, accusing its organisers of “ganging up with ‘Taiwan Separatists’” and calling talks with Taiwanese politicians “an act of playing with fire”.

“Borrowing ‘Taiwan Independence’ ideas to push for Hong Kong’s independence is undoubtedly playing with fire, risking a dangerous act of secession of the state,” the People’s Daily said in an editorial in its overseas edition published on Thursday.

The article accused Hong Kong opposition parties of attempting to adopt radical measures from “Taiwan separatists” to incite violence in Hong Kong. “Any attempt to incite violent confrontation and split the nation is doomed to fail no matter what happens,” the article warned.

The opinion piece came a day after 40 pro-establishment legislators on Wednesday condemned Chu Yiu-ming, one of the initiators of the Occupy Central movement, and two other pan-democratic politicians for meeting up with Shih Ming-teh, the former chairman of Taiwan’s pro-independence Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), last week in the island state.

In a joint statement, the pro-government politicians blamed the three for “challenging the principle of ‘one country, two systems’ by introducing external political powers”, which they feared could lead to violent confrontation.

Also on Thursday, an editorial in the Global Times, a nationalist tabloid affiliated to the People’s Daily, warned Hong Kong’s opposition forces not to become the state’s enemy.

“A conflux of ‘Taiwan separatists’ and Hong Kong opposing forces could only bring infinite chaos, ultimately forcing [China’s] central government to resort to more resolute measures.”

The chairman of the Labour Party Lee Cheuk-yan, who was on the Taiwan trip last week, accused his critics of maliciously tarnishing him on Wednesday. “Occupy Central is a local movement, but it welcomes global attention,” he told Sing Tao Daily.

“Why can’t I meet Shih if [China’s] central government [officials] can meet Hsieh Chang-ting?” he said, referring to another former DPP chairman who visited Beijing last year.

Chan Kin-man, another organiser of Occupy Central, said he admired Shih for heading a large-scale, non-violent protest against former Taiwan president Chan Shui-bian in 2006. He told Ming Pao that he would continue to discuss Hong Kong democracy with overseas parties despite the criticisms.