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.
Split in the legal ranks over Occupy Central remarks
A split emerged in the Law Society yesterday over its chairman's condemnation of the Occupy Central civil disobedience plan.
Human rights lawyer Mark Daly, who sits on the constitutional committee of the city's largest lawyers' group, said Ambrose Lam San-keung's remarks took him by surprise because the committee had not yet reached a view on the issue.
"There has been a good discussion in the committee but it has not come to a concluding view," Daly said.
"What [Lam] said was certainly not reflecting my views. I will follow up on his remarks in the constitutional committee."
Without specifically mentioning Occupy Central, Lam said on Tuesday that civil disobedience had no legal grounds and that the notion of "peaceful violence" was just "beautiful rhetoric".
Daly said he was not alone in disagreeing with Lam.
"The issue of civil disobedience should be looked at and discussed among members before the society announces a view."
Daly said he had yet to decide his own stance, but added: "At times in history [civil disobedience] has been the only avenue to effect changes."
In Beijing, former Bar Association chairman Ronny Tong Ka-wah declined to say whether political reform was discussed by an association delegation that met officials of the Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office.
On a three-day visit to the capital, the barristers yesterday met Feng Wei, of the State Council's Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office, and a former director of the legal affairs department at Beijing's liaison office in Hong Kong. Tong said Feng had a role in fostering the 2010 political reform plan. "I hope I can meet Feng in the future as a lawmaker or a politician to express the views of Hong Kong people on political reform," he said.