• Fri
  • Sep 19, 2014
  • Updated: 12:18pm
Occupy Central
NewsHong Kong

Occupy Central pioneer Dr Benny Tai Yiu-ting sounds a dire warning

Hongkongers may emigrate or protest violently if Beijing rejects universal suffrage, activist says

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 28 March, 2013, 1:09pm
UPDATED : Friday, 29 March, 2013, 7:45am


  • Yes: 72%
  • No: 28%
29 Mar 2013
  • Yes
  • No
Total number of votes recorded: 627

If Beijing denies Hong Kong genuine universal suffrage, some residents might emigrate and others turn to a violent struggle for democracy, the man behind the Occupy Central civil disobedience plan warned yesterday.

Dr Benny Tai Yiu-ting, a University of Hong Kong law professor, said: "We still hope that at the end we do not need to occupy Central. But if the movement is oppressed, or universal suffrage is denied, it may force some Hongkongers to turn to violent struggle or to emigrate."

His comments, which some activists support, was met with warnings about the risk to the city's economy. The business sector warned that some financial institutions were working on "contingency plans" to move offices out of Hong Kong.

Tai said the plan for a road blockade in Central next year would be only a final resort in pressing for democracy.

The goal was reform that would fulfil the world standard of universal suffrage but "does not [go against] the Basic Law", he said on a radio programme. Tai said it was too difficult to assess whether the recent remarks by Qiao Xiaoyang , chairman of the Law Committee under the National People's Congress, would drive more people to join the Occupy Central movement.

On Sunday, Qiao told a group of Beijing-loyalist lawmakers that Beijing would not accept a chief executive candidate who adopted a confrontational attitude towards the central government.

The Reverend Chu Yiu-ming, a core Occupy Central organiser, said Qiao's remark showed that Beijing's mindset was "going backwards".

Tony Tsoi Tung-ho, co-founder of the online House News portal, said: "Hongkongers have waited long enough for universal suffrage. I will join [the protest] because I can see no more reason to dodge [democracy]."

Hongkongers have waited long enough for universal suffrage. I will join [the protest] because I can see no more reason to dodge [democracy]
Tony Tsoi Tung-ho, co-founder of the online House News portal

But lawmaker Andrew Leung Kwan-yuen, chairman of the Business and Professionals Alliance, said the planned protest would create an economic risk.

"I know that several multinational financial firms have prepared contingency plans," he said. "If the political risk is too big, they might move part of their offices out of Hong Kong."

Elsie Leung Oi-sie, vice-chairwoman of the Hong Kong Basic Law Committee, said it was "common sense" that the chief executive should love the country and the city.

"It is a 'must', and not a new criterion imposed by Beijing," she said.

Political scientist Ivan Choy Chi-keung said Qiao's remarks had narrowed the space for talks between pan-democrats and Beijing, making Tai's plan seem a more acceptable option to pro-democracy campaigners.



For unlimited access to:

SCMP.com SCMP Tablet Edition SCMP Mobile Edition 10-year news archive



This article is now closed to comments

hard times !
jkhleung is definitely an old guy who is just good at pointing fingers at other writers here who support pan-democrats.In his eyes,freeom to express is a sin or ...Without basic freedom of expression,how can he or I express ourselves here freely ? I wonder.Democratic political system can also produce corrupted leaders like Taiwan's Chen Shui-bien yet the voters can vote their elected leader out once he/she is found to be corrupted or incapable without staging a bloody revolution or physical violence as claimed by this so-called jkhleung ! Right ?
pflim040@netvig's intolerance and anger at people with different views is the very reason why I believe that once the padems seize power (heavens forbid!) we'll know the true meaning of authoritarianism and dictatorship. They'll put the communists to shame!
hard times !
jkhleung is definitely a follower of authoritarianism and dictatorship who worships the one-party rule across the border.Right ? may God bless his soul and conscience if he has any. He doesn't know the true meaning of democracy and direct election,not to say a geniune universal suffrage. Right ? He better borrows or buys (if he has got some money) some books on politics (the democracy-typed ) before barking at other Comment writers (such as this Old Hong Kong) here !
pflim040@netvig is either extremely stubborn or his English is way below par or both for he simply doesn't seem to understand what I write. When I criticise their belief in qualified freedom, he thinks I don't believe in freedom. When I say that they would be more authoritarian and dictatorial than the communists if they should ever get into power, he says that I worship the CCP. His cult like behaviour is representative of the pandems who are beneath contempt. It's impossible to conduct a meaningful dialogue with such people, let alone an intelligent debate. The only thing they do is shouting abuses at people with different views.
hard times !
your lousy English is just below average so it makes other readers to misunderstand you.Anyway,your irrational attacks on local pan-democrats (never so-called pandems which is never a proper word at all !) inevitably leads others to side you with the CCP or their followers, the DAB or ...While accusing another writer here as 'extreme stubborn' is itself an insult or at least very impolite---which forbids any rational or meaningful discussions here which can never be accomplished since the views here can be very varied ! The one who keeps on shouting abuses at others with different views is nobody but you yourself---an old guy in town ! Right ? ha ! ha !
Professors, When Obama or his predecessors meeting with Chinese Presidents, they will talk about human rights but none of them had challenged Chinese one party system. So what makes HK CE candidates so special that he or she can scream and yet about the end of one party? Is it the Basic Law? By theory you could according to Basic Law to say anything you like, but you are out of your mind.
Professors, if you want to fight a regime u should teach ur students to make Hk financially independent. hK is relying too much on China financially since 1997 and getting worst. Without gaining back some financial freedom, all fights are empty talks! Even universities academics hku, etc are talking everyday how to grow into China etc etc....how can our future generation be financially independent (from china). With that, how can you fight a regime u think not doing what you want ? Empty talk.
Prof Tai does not look as he is acting on his own accord, he seem to have been sent by the PanDem camp, acting like a jackal or something, to carry out one big tactical mission step for them, for the purpose of gaming the Central government on the CE universal suffrage issue.What an unwise move by the PanDem camp!
Mr. professors, you are a bung if well off middle class also trying to do something exciting and meaning because office is boring. Please understand change and revolution always means violence. Aung San Suuyi followers were killed, tortured, kidnapped. She is ok because she is too big a name to be killed.
If you are really bored and want to do something for the society, goto start a campaign to help those 200 to 400k people living in coffin homes and subdivided flats. Don't keep preaching we need democracy first. Yes or no. Indian has free vote but lots of poverty.
Disregard whether HK has a freely voted leader or not, his or her popularity will not last too long as the society is sick. Please stop using that as a reason.
If you want to get 90% of Hkongers support, help the poor.
If you Google there is virtually no "change" or "revolution" without violence. Not only that, you need a almost 90% supported candidate, a very intelligent, strong and charismatic leader, like Aung San SuuYi, the MLK alike, and majority vote of the people to support him or her.
Politic is not what these professors or academics doing for fun, it is about winning. There is no point to push for a so called fare system of there is no chance of winning. You need to focus to choose a war to fight, not to fight for everything. As of today, Hk does even has such a person from the PanD size to stand up for the challege. If even 60% of the 3m voter really believe in democracy that should easily contribute $1,000 each less than 100 a month, to sum up to $1.8 B to have a strong campaign. But they don't it is all dry talking.
BJ will not yield to these 10 to 20k people from HK to affect the taking of its 1.3b people. think! If you are not dump.




SCMP.com Account