POLITICS
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Occupy Central

Tackle business fears about Occupy Central head on, supporters say

Economic impact is a business concern that the organisers should take seriously, supporters say

PUBLISHED : Monday, 10 June, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 10 June, 2013, 4:01am

The Occupy Central campaign is in need of better promotional efforts to persuade the public it will not hurt the city's economy, say supporters of the movement that fights for globally acceptable universal suffrage in Hong Kong.

The suggestion seeks to tackle concerns expressed by major business groups, including the Chinese General Chamber of Commerce, which considers the movement detrimental to Hong Kong's business image.

This was one of seven key points reached among about 600 supporters in Occupy Central's first deliberation session yesterday. There was also wide agreement that the organisers should elevate their final step - a plan to block roads in Central that is tentatively scheduled for July 1 next year - to a level of "participation for all", engaging people of every social class and ethnicity.

"Today is the start of a new political culture. It is the first concerted discussion on politics," said Benny Tai Yiu-ting, the University of Hong Kong legal scholar who masterminded the idea of Occupy Central.

The session threw up suggestions of setting up a platform to discuss the bottom lines. Some people went into details of the timing: when "a real occupation" should take place, be withdrawn, and formally ended. Participants also asked about fundraising, and the appropriate response to any suppression and smearing efforts from the authorities.

Outside the venue on the HKU campus, dozens of government supporters staged a protest. Members of the Voice of Loving Hong Kong group waved a large national flag, hurled abuse at attendees and shouted slogans.

Group convenor Patrick Ko Tat-pun said: "This is a scam. They're here to deceive residents and young students, trying to make them believe such a thing is righteous and reasonable. They are pitting themselves against the entire seven-million populace."