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  • Dec 25, 2014
  • Updated: 5:10am
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

hard times !
Professor Tai's intention is nice and good-willed since he claims that the 'Occupy Central' movement is the last resort only.He really doesn't wish that will have to take place----it is indeed a protest to demand a universal suffrage which meets the international standard and conforms to the standard of the United Nations only. What is wrong with that ? I wonder.Of course, it can be assured most Hongkongers will never elect a confrontational chief executive who will be the adversary/antagonist towards the Beijing authorities.Yet Qiao's words sounded like that the consultation to be launched soon by our Leung administration next year maybe a daydream only.Right ?
It will be one small step closer to it
Gandhi alone fought and won the Great British Empire and India got the independent, his non-violence movement worked however...due to his preseverance. Here we are just trying to be happy with our ways and have a pure democracy, I feel HK has very good and experienced ppl to run this capitalist city for good. As far as we keep our mind open and eager to learn and adapt.
We just don't want too much politics which will effect its business. We all know why communist party is nervous coz they have been ruling the nation by their own ways but HK is something that cant be shut and bullied. But the Beijing should be co-operative not trying to make blunders like their funny way of dealing stuff in the nation and in internationally. I hope Beijing tries to understand and win HK ppl's heart instead forcing.
"The propensity to take a strong stance on issues we know little about is probably wired into our psychological make-up." says Columnist Alex Lo in his article published in the SCMP on 16-2-13. pflim040@netvig should read it and be less arrogant and abusive.
@the righteous: Righteousness sounds good, but not self-righteousness. It's OK to have a view, even a strong one. It's bad to shout down at people whose views are different from yours. I was merely responding in kind to pflim040's verbiage. Please practice the democracy and freedom that you preach. BTW, your style of finishing a sentence with the word "right?" looks suspiciously similar to your friend pflim040. Are you one and the same? Or are you just alter egos?
pflim040@netvig...is a typical pandem. Their belief in "freedom" and "democracy" is predicated on your "freedom" to agree with them. If you have the temerity to spout opposing views, they won't hesitate resorting to verbal abuse or even physical violence! Their behaviours remind us time and again that HK is not ready for their brand of democracy.
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!
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.
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.
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!



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