Occupy Central playing with fire by meeting DPP, mainland media warns
Meeting of movement leader and Taiwan 'separatist' could bring chaos and provoke Beijing to act to ensure stability, state media warn
Jeffie Lam and Joshua But
Mainland media have warned Occupy Central activists they are "playing with fire" after one of the movement's organisers met a Taiwanese politician seen by Beijing as an advocate of independence for the island.
They said co-operation with "separatist forces" could bring chaos to Hong Kong and provoke sterner measures from Beijing to maintain stability.
A leader of the civil-disobedience, pro-democracy movement met the former chairman of Taiwan's Democratic Progressive Party, Shih Ming-teh, in Taipei on Saturday.
An editorial in the state-run Global Times yesterday urged the pan-democrats to act constructively and not join hands with Taiwanese independence forces to become Beijing's enemy.
"The co-operation between these two groups of people might bring massive chaos to the city and would force the central government to adopt sterner measures to maintain the stability of Hong Kong," the editorial declared.
Communist Party mouthpiece the People's Daily also published a commentary in its overseas edition yesterday, saying the pan-democrats were "playing with fire".
Pro-establishment lawmakers issued a joint statement on Wednesday attacking the Reverend Chu Yiu-ming - a co-founder of the Occupy movement - Labour Party leader Lee Cheuk-yan and Alliance for True Democracy convenor Joseph Cheng Yu-shek for meeting Shih.
Shih rebutted the criticism in a two-page statement yesterday.
"I would not, and would not dare to, guide the democratic movement in Hong Kong, but it is a citizen's obligation and responsibility to be concerned about different countries' democracy, freedom and human rights," he said.
"Supporting Hongkongers to popularly elect their chief doesn't mean opposition to China," he added.
Shih said his actions did not represent Taiwan separatists or the DDP.
Occupy Central organiser Dr Chan Kin-man said the criticism was completely against the facts.
"Shih was the leader who launched a protest to call for former president Chen Shui-bian, a pro-independence supporter, to step down," he said. "Calling Shih a 'Taiwan separatist' is a joke to the Taiwanese."
But Civic Party lawmaker Ronny Tong Ka-wah said the meeting had "further complicated" the struggle for Hong Kong's universal suffrage.
"We all know Beijing must launch a smear campaign against us if we mix with advocates of Taiwanese independence. Why should we give them an excuse?" he said.