Young professionals back reform fight, up to a point
Core members of 30s Group support Occupy Central movement but have some reservations
Young professionals who founded a public policy advocacy group support the Occupy Central movement in varying degrees and have reservations about certain aspects of the protest planned for July next year.
Bryan Wong Kim-yeung, a company executive and a core member of the 30s Group, said he would take part in the Occupy Central movement to fight for genuine universal suffrage.
But he had yet to decide whether to take the oath prepared by the organisers and would not surrender to police.
"I don't think it is a must for participants to pay the price of going to jail," he said.
Wong said he found recent remarks by mainland officials on political reform unacceptable.
"We have called for universal suffrage for many years and I'm frustrated with Beijing's reluctance to introduce genuine universal suffrage," he said.
Wong, a former member of the Antiquities Advisory Board, said he was prepared to take part in the Occupy Central movement as much as was practicable, including taking leave from his job.
"A road blockade is an effective way to force the Beijing and Hong Kong governments to make concessions on political reform. I don't buy the view that blocking roads in Central is irrational," he said. Organisers of the Occupy Central movement plan to stage the campaign in the heart of Central in July next year.
The 30s Group is a public policy advocacy group founded by Wong and other young professionals after the Sars outbreak in 2003. It is seen as a source of political talent and Wong was tipped in 2008 as a likely candidate for undersecretary.
Wong said many friends with a middle-class background shared his frustration with the slow progress of democratisation in Hong Kong and were interested in joining the movement.
He said the organisers of the Occupy Central movement, who preferred people aged over 40 to take part in the protest, should consider lowering the age threshold for participants.
Law Professor Benny Tai Yiu-ting, who spearheaded the movement, has said he hopes that at least 10,000 people would turn out for the blockade.
Wong did not think a movement with 10,000 participants would make enough of an impact to force Beijing to make concessions. "We need to have 200,000 or even 300,000 people coming out to show the power of Hong Kong people," he said.
Laurence Li Lu-jen, convenor of the 30s Group, said he supported the movement and hoped it would stay within the law.
"I can't support any unlawful activities," Li said.
Stephen Ho Kin-wai, an architect and another core member of the group, said he would show support for the Occupy Central activists but did not believe it was worth going to jail.
He was disappointed with the slow pace of political development but doubted the movement would achieve its goal.
"The central government will simply not yield … and may push back the clock 10 years," he said.