Occupy Central

Silent Majority for Hong Kong takes on Occupy Central in campaign 'to protect city's interests'

While Occupy Central aims to cause gridlock in streets, new group aims for support of 100,000 for peaceful campaign to protect city's interests

PUBLISHED : Friday, 09 August, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 10 August, 2013, 3:43am

A new group launched yesterday to counter the pro-democracy Occupy Central movement says it wants to win the backing of at least 100,000 Hongkongers for a peaceful campaign to protect the city’s interests.

Silent Majority for Hong Kong, formed by more than 40 academics and professionals, is keen to distinguish itself from pro-government groups after scuffles broke out between hundreds of supporters of an outspoken teacher and her detractors in Mong Kok on Sunday.

They oppose University of Hong Kong law professor Benny Tai Yiu-ting’s  call  for at least 10,000 people to block roads in Central next July as a last resort in the pursuit of democracy.

Six convenors lead the group: former RTHK radio host Robert Chow Yung; Chinese University political scientist Dr Chang Chak-yan; Lingnan University public policy professor Ho Lok-sang; Liberal Party member Fung Ka-pun; Peter Wong Kwok-keung, chairman and CEO of constructor Kum Shing Group and a local delegate to the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference; and Spencer Li Wing-kwai, head of an innovation and technology association.

Questioning Tai’s proposition that his civil disobedience plan will be “strictly non-violent”, Chow said: “Don’t believe what people tell you – watch their deeds.

There are only 28,000 police officers in Hong Kong. What would happen [when at least 10,000 occupy Central]?

“Does Mr Tai have a monopoly to say if he doesn’t get his way, then everyone in Hong Kong should suffer?

“We want the rest of Hong Kong to come out with us and tell Mr Tai, ‘Stop it, please’. Or at least we can minimise its scale, so it won’t jeopardise public safety and the economy.” Chow emphasised they were in favour of electing the city’s next leader in 2017 by universal suffrage, but the details should be discussed by Hongkongers.

The group has raised more than HK$1 million so far, mainly among themselves, and will canvass for support on the internet and by collecting signatures. It plans to run full-page adverts in newspapers next Tuesday.

“We also welcome a discussion with the [organisers] of Occupy Central,” Chow said.

On Sunday, the Parents’ Association of Hong Kong and Hong Kong Action staged a rally against a teacher who was seen shouting foul language at police officers.

But the event escalated into a political row, with pro-democracy protesters storming a stage and waving the colonial flag.

Last month, Occupy Central condemned the Caring Hong Kong Power group for rowdy scenes at a public forum.

Patrick Ko Tat-pun, convenor of the pro-government Voice of Loving Hong Kong, said he might consider working with Chow’s group.

But Chow said that while his group welcomed people with different political backgrounds, they were determined to do things peacefully.

“We don’t have any connections [with pro-government bodies]. We do things separately,” Chow said. “We want to talk sensibly and peacefully.”

Tai could not be reached for comment yesterday.