• Sun
  • Jul 27, 2014
  • Updated: 4:01am
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

"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 sun also rises
This righteous guy in town thinks that you (jkhleung) is just as 'arrogant' and 'abusive' as the writer here named pflim040 does.So,don't demand others to behave so and so if you yourself can't set a good example----biased in your comments and never take sides or have a fixed view on a certain topic.Right ?
@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?
the sun also rises
no more waiting ! No more !
the sun also rises
No more reason to wait.No more ! A geniune universal suffrage. A real one ! Nothing can replace it. Nothing ! Most Hongkongers' wish ! Most !
the sun also rises
Yeah, political scientist Mr.Choi Chi-keung is definitely right in pointing out Old Guy Qiao;s remaks (don't carry any legal status ) which just uttered casually at a closed-door meeting with pro-establishment 'lawmakers' in Shenzhen had really narrowed the space for talks between pan-democrats and Beijing.Don't forget, the pan-democrat lawmakers are directly elected by nearly 60% of the qualified voters in the city. Once the coming election of chief executive in 2017 is boycotted by pan-democrat followers, then the voting rate will be terribly miserable and the so-called 'elected' chief executive's endorsement and prestige will drop to near zero ! How can he/she governs ? I wonder. ha ! ha !
Fear of HK citizens emigrating? They've already done that, and returned.
Professors n PanD, let me teach you how to win the universal suffrage. Just focus to win the Ledgco vote first, 90%. Then people need to listen to you. You are not even an official opposition as you don't have enough vote! I used to vote for PanD in the past 10 yrs but I m not voting against them. They are the worst in the world as I wrote and call them the over 20 times none of them even acknowledge. I'm an educated middle class, in Canada I always get a call back from my MP if I email them or call them. I really don't understand Hk PanD.
If you want to win vote, if you really think you have the support of 60% of the voter, 1.8m voters. Try to raise 1k per person, or 100 per month, you will have $1.8B and you can win 90% of the general vote. This is how American win their campaign, money. Then you can give away more goodie than DAB.
After u have 90% vote, u can control the legco then forget about CE. Just like the Republican controlling the House and Obama. Simple.
This is a better road map because it is impossible to get a acceptable candidate PanD CE in Hk that can win. You just do not have a candidate. So what's the point of fighting?
the sun also rises
Maybe your lousy English can be said to be among the worst around the world and even in the space within our solar system and beyond it ! Understand ?don't tell lies in the broad daylight.You are not speaking freely but meaninglessly and crazily,carrying an imbalanced mindset and misunderstanding the real meaning of a genuine universal suffrage--shut up your mouth instead of so-called speak freely. Of course you won't ! You just don't have the guts and courage plus righteousness at all ! Right ? Go home and study basic politics (democracy part of course) ABC before returning to utter nonsense again and again ! Brush up your below-average English should be the first step to become a fair Comment writer-----otherwise you are polluting our readers' precise reading space and wrongly misleading our dear students ! Okay ?
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.
the sun also rises
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!
the sun also rises
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.
the sun also rises
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.
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.
the sun also rises
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?
the sun also rises
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 ?
.....and wacko comments like this may lead to less students at HKU......Clearly some of their faculty are not really familiar with democracy and its basic principles.......that would discourage me from studying there for sure :-/ Educating in law and encouraging people to break it......something wrong here......but interesting if that is how he suggest that one should deal with parts of the law and system that one doesn't like.....why stop at universal suffrage....just disobey law and order if you don't agree with it.....cause inconvenience and mayhem to your fellow citizens...irrespective if you have the popular support or not......
This so-called professor has clearly been brainwashed by the Americans. Democracy will never be able to bring positive change to Hong Kong. This imbecile should go home. Shame on the HKU.
"Democracy" is an unfair and risky system. Why? Think about it!!!
If there is one thing I like good lawyers it's their ability to take on various perspectives. This consists of sizing up previous opinions of a presiding judge, the skills and track records of his adversary - a prosecuting attorney or plaintiff, the makeup of the jury and public sentiment of the case. Yes, don’t be sold easily by the claptrap of a total independent judiciary.
Given the uncertainties of all of the above, an attorney – glorified by mediocre lawyers themselves as officers of the court – must proceed in every case with cautious discovery as a trial progresses. Reading fickle public opinions that is easily manipulated by the media requires similar investigative spirit.
Obviously, Mr. Tai, a wooly headed academic has none of the good qualities of his profession. Instead, he persists in his own ideology with a singular track fanaticism. Any reasonably intelligent person could also offer another highly probable scenario. Given the intransigent, doctrinaire anti-Beijing sentiments of the constituents of the Occupy Central participants, impassioned advocacy to topple the central government – I had seen one headed by Anson Chan with “Tear down CCP” signs, our silent majority also fears scenes of Tahrir Square and Arab Spring.
This professor will fail in any course I taught in freshman class that requires critical inquiry, let alone allowing him to teach our students. Shame to HKU!
the sun also rises
Hong Kong used to be a land of milk (imported milk powder can be sure of geniune and never contaminated as those on Mainland) and honey (which is sufficient enough as they are imported from both Australia and New Zealand). Our Customs never allows /tolerates any faked goods or foodstuffs to be sold locally and our commodities on sale in the city are guaranteed for their geniunity.No faked goods at all ! So,our upcoming universal suffrage should also be a geniune one as advocated by respectable Professor Tai Yiu-ting who organizes the 'Occupy Central' movement. Right ?
Will Hong Kong be a land of milk and honey once we have "genuine" universal suffrage as defined by the learned professor?
What honey? You better start worrying where will your next drink of water come from. These folks don't mind cutting their nose to spite their face. I hope they are not the HK majority.
It will be one small step closer to it
I'm afraid you have to take on mighty Motherland to achieve it! If the antagonists had been more vociferous against China's resumption of sovereignty over HK during the Sino British negotiations, I would have had more respect for them. It's patently unrealistic to expect HK to elect our Chief Executive as though we're an independent sovereign state. Our sovereign master is, and has been for more than six decades, under the single party rule of the CCP (ironically as a result of a popular uprising!). It's naive on our part to expect them to allow HK to elect an anti-CCP person as CE. And if they did allow that to happen, I can't imagine what would happen to HK without the Mainland's support. Are we prepared to achieve this so called "genuine" universal suffrage at all costs!! Can we accept something less? This all-or-nothing game is too much of a gamble!!
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 sun also rises
The planned 'Occupy Central' campaign /movement is designed to be a peaceful one joined by 10,000 Hongkongers who will have to sign a committement note (promising never using violence during the movement and will not respond by using violence even being physciially bullied by cops or rascals who hate their acts ---occupy certain areas in Central (probably around the MTR Central station and its exits )to demand a geniune universal suffrage for our chief executive election in 2017 and our lawmakers in 2020.No screening mechanism that any qualified candidates will be barred from entering the contest----at least not worse than the past chief executive elections which both Leung Ka-kit and Ho Chun-yan could take part in the final round ot the elections.Otherwise,no one can guarantee that violence will not ensue once the cops led by hawkish Tsang use tear gas bombs,batons,amphifiers and even plastic bullets or ...to disperse the gathering crowds which might be much more than just 10,000 in which some may be trouble-makers or agents trying to sabotage the protest.Right ?


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