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.
‘Silent Majority’ takes vocal stance in fight against Occupy Central
Two-week-old force against Occupy Central warns of PLA intervention while running its second round of ads blasting civil disobedience
A new group set up two weeks ago has emerged as the leading force against Occupy Central, launching aggressive attacks on the pro-democracy campaign.
One of its convenors warned yesterday that the planned acts of civil disobedience could lead to "anarchy" and "intervention by the People's Liberation Army".
Organisers of Occupy Central countered that their actions would remain peaceful and non-violent, and rebuffed suggestions that their plan to blockade Central district next summer would end in bloodshed or rioting.
The Silent Majority for Hong Kong, formed on August 8 with 40 members, has 10,000 "likes" on its Facebook page. Occupy Central has 37,000 "likes" on its page.
Yesterday, the group ran full-page print advertisements criticising Occupy Central - its second lot of ads in major Chinese-language newspapers in a week.
The latest ads warned that the Occupy Central blockade could mirror the chaos that broke out in Mong Kok on August 4 involving 3,000 people - who backed either the police or a teacher who had hurled verbal abuse at officers.
"Occupy Central might be 10 times larger," the ads read. "Will the 28,000-strong police force be able to control the scene? Can the campaign organisers guarantee it will not end up in riots?"
The two groups also clashed at their first open forum, resulting in a war of words between Robert Chow Yung, one of Silent Majority's six convenors, and Occupy Central organiser Benny Tai Yiu-ting, that lasted over three hours. The forum was hosted by Wisdom Hong Kong, a new think tank whose vice-chairman Dr Chow Pak-chin backed Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying in his election campaign.
"The civil disobedience could eventually take Hong Kong into a state of anarchy," Robert Chow said. "I wonder if the police will handle it. If not, the government will have to admit the city is ungovernable, prompting the PLA out of their barracks. Is that the price Hongkongers are willing to pay for universal suffrage?"
Reverend Chu Yiu-ming, another Occupy Central organiser, said he had never seen any riots or bloodshed in his 30-year fight for democracy. "In 1989, when a million people marched in protest, there was not so much as a piece of rubbish on the streets."
Tai said: "Hongkongers have had two bounced cheques for universal suffrage, in 2007 and 2012, from Beijing. This time we have to give advance warning so the 2017 pledge will be fulfilled."
Separately, after a meeting with the Democratic Party, National People's Congress Standing Committee member Rita Fan Hsu Lai-tai said she would convey its message to Beijing about introducing universal suffrage for the 2017 chief executive election during her next visit to the capital.