• Sun
  • Oct 26, 2014
  • Updated: 12:49am
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.



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This article is now closed to comments

Typo : ..if there is no chance of winning....and ....HK does not even have such a person...
I wish HK could achieve universal sufferage as soon as possible. But if the fruit of that is to produce so-called leaders like this Doctor, then it will only lead to disaster. To occupy a principal business district with a known consequence of causing major disruption to all in the name of civil disobedience, and to argue it is for democracy is nothing short of blind irresponsibility. It does not differentiate between the good and the bad, the young and the old, the rich or the poor. Everyone is affected, including the innocent. Statements made now with intent to threaten, to incite, to even announce a plan that will involve breaking laws in future, are already unlawful. People who indicated they will join in the plan are also breaking the law. Let us not permit an exception to the Rule of Law called civil disobedience that is non-violent.
Beijing should pre-empt the Occupy Central scheme by helping implement what is reasonable, fair, and desired by most Hong Kongers: create a roadmap for free and fair elections of the HK CE by 2017.
There are many precedents for such elections--the UN regularly sends observers to monitor elections in different countries. UN guidelines can help draw up a framework for election of the CE.
Few Hong Kongers want civil disobedience. We simply want our say in electing our own Chief Executive, and later on, LegCo representatives.
Occupy Central is an extreme and highly undesirable prospect for Hong Kong. It will do damage to our economy and business reputation. But it's necessary. We are being forced into a corner by a heavy-handed despotic regime that doesn't give a fig for its promises and cares even less for democracy and freedoms in Hong Kong. Either we yield under their thumb or stand up for our rights and principles.
hard times !
As this Old Hong Kong has spoken before,all ethic Chinese here love their country (no matter the PRC or the POC--Republic of China in Taiwan) and Hong Kong (where they live and work or study). But loving one's country,not necessarily means that one should love the ruling regime.Our National Father loved China, but never the Qing Dynasty,otherwise he should serve in the court and the nobles instead of becoming a rebel to be wanted (nearly kidnapped in London).Chairman Mao and his fellow revolutionaries before 1949 should never revolt against the then Kuomintang government led by Chiang Kai-shek since China was governed by Chiang and Hung Sau-chuen should never stage a rebellion against the Qing ruler in 1851 since the ruler at that time was the Manchus. Right ? Loving one's country and people plus Hong Kong is just natural enough so it is not written in the Basic Law too.
@pfilm040@netvig... There're bound to be disagreement with the government's policies. The way to voice your discontent is not necessarily civil disobedience or starting a revolution. We ordinary folks just want to make a living. It's not fair that you should be taking such politically radical actions and we ordinary folks have to pay the price. If you're as democratic minded as you claim to be, please check the polls to see how many people in HK agree with the Occupy Central movement let alone a revolution! The CCP may be autocratic but they're not impotent or evil. Changes will have to come from within, not without!!
Most revolutions need a big majority support, likely 90%+, and a very strong candidate to lead. hK support of so called democracy is too low. Last Ce election Ho had the lowest popularity support. If there are 3m voters and say 60% support democracy, that is 1.8m, and they can easily contribute $1,000 or 100 a month to about $3b but PanD is broke and need apple daily support. This show this democracy Hk people are not putting money in their mouth. 1,000 per person is nothing. But they won't even able to scarify for that.
"Occupy Central " Dont under estimate Greater china...................understand ?
President Morsi of Egypt went to the BRICS summit in Durban, South Africa together with his crew to seek help, to join as a member, to meet with President Xi of China. If Arab Spring in Tahrir Square led the Egyptians to where they are now, what lessons can we draw from it ?
When this black lady in America called Rosa Parkers sat in the Whites only section of the bus, it's an act of civil disobedience against an unfair racially discriminatory law. May I know which law (traffic? Illegal assembly???) the learned Professor Tai wants changed when he mounts the Occupy Central movement? Or is the professor confused between civil disobedience and blackmailing?




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