Occupy Central

Civic Party to join civil-disobedience plan 'Occupy Central'

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 14 March, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 14 March, 2013, 5:29am

The Civic Party will join "Occupy Central", a civil-disobedience movement that party leader Alan Leong Kah-kit describes as the "only tangible last resort" to strive for democracy in the city.

The pan-democratic lawmaker also said incoming president Xi Jinping and his Communist Party would become "sinners in China's history" if Hongkongers' pursuit of genuine universal suffrage was eventually rejected.

Leong was responding yesterday to a screening mechanism that Beijing-loyalist heavyweights from Hong Kong suggested introducing for the 2017 chief executive election - supposedly the first to be held under universal suffrage - that could block pan-democrats from contesting.

The development was "not a good sign" and it might be time to ask Hongkongers how much they were prepared to pay for democracy after waiting for 30 years, he told the South China Morning Post. "I certainly see [the Occupy Central movement] as the only tangible last resort in the fight for true democracy," he said.

The plan, raised by University of Hong Kong law professor Benny Tai Yiu-ting, aims to organise a road blockade of at least 10,000 protesters in July next year to put pressure on Beijing. The protesters will sign an oath acknowledging the non-violent nature of the movement and agreeing to surrender to police after the event.

The Democratic Party has agreed to take part, and now Leong says his Civic Party will join in as well. "We are quite prepared to participate … We hope that in the next 15 months we can accomplish a mission impossible."

He urged the nation's new leaders to look at Hong Kong from a historical perspective.

"A century ago Hong Kong produced Dr Sun Yat-sen, and I believe [it] will continue to play the historic role [that it has] in the past century for the modernisation of China," he said. "If Xi and the Communist Party - out of its own selfish need - reject Hong Kong's movement for democracy, they will be sinners when they are facing China's history."

He did not see the city taking a role in China's democratisation in the near future. "We do not intend to do that, nor are we able to do that. But as an experimental ground, Hong Kong's experiences could become a rich source of reference for the mainland."

In Geneva, the UN Human Rights Committee sought assurances from the Hong Kong government that the system set up to secure universal suffrage should be mindful of not only the right to elect but also the right to stand for election. Permanent Secretary for Constitutional and Mainland Affairs Chang King-yiu, who attended the meeting, said public consultations on the election methods would be launched "at an appropriate juncture".

The pan-democratic camp is to unveil a platform next Thursday to unite for political reform. The Alliance for True Democracy will comprise all parties in the camp except People Power, which will decide later. City University political scientist Joseph Cheng Yu-shek will be convenor.