Occupy Central is a proposed civil disobedience protest which would take place in Central, Hong Kong in July 2014 for universal suffrage. The movement is initiated by Benny Tai Yiu-ting, an associate professor of law at the University of Hong Kong, in January 2013.
Occupy Central movement is wrong: Liberal Party
Movement should blockade government offices – anywhere as long as it’s not Central, warns party
The Occupy Central campaign should stay away from Central and block other places such as the government headquarters or the Chief Executive's Office in Admiralty, in its attempt to press the authorities into action on universal suffrage, the pro-establishment Liberal Party says.
Party leader James Tien Pei-chun said he agreed with the pan-democrats' demand for full universal suffrage and urged Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying to offer a political reform plan for consultation as soon as possible.
However, he disagreed with the Occupy Central movement and said that many businessmen had expressed worries about the campaign's impact on Hong Kong's financial operations and international standing.
"The Occupy Central movement is wrong," Tien said yesterday. "Central is the heart of Hong Kong. The movement will be interpreted as social disorder by the international community and will put off investors.
"If some people want to make a political statement, it is all right for them to occupy the government headquarters or Chief Executive's Office … It is all right for them to occupy Causeway Bay or Tsim Sha Tsui, as long as it is not Central."
Organisers of the movement say they are aiming for at least 10,000 people to block roads in Central next July if the government fails by then to deliver on universal suffrage.
The Liberal Party has set aside hundreds of thousands of dollars to run an anti-Occupy Central campaign in which they promote their message through street banners and on buses, said Tien.
He added that the party rejected illegal acts such as civil disobedience as a way of fighting for social policies, though it would not object to a social movement involving occupying or blocking public places. He did not clarify the difference between the two.
Worried businessmen had yet to make any contingency plan should Central's roads be blockaded, he said.
The planned action was also troubling drivers of taxis and minivans who were worried about traffic jams, said fellow Liberals lawmaker Yiu Si-wing.
Party deputy chairman and lawmaker Vincent Fang Kang voiced worries for retailers in the district's tourism hot spots.
"Many people may be affected as there is no guarantee that the campaign organisers can maintain peace," Tien said.
"There are other ways to demand universal suffrage. [Occupy Central] is not a risk Hong Kong should take."