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  • Dec 18, 2014
  • Updated: 8:51pm
Occupy Central
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POLITICS

Occupy Central plan 'may ruin city's image at Apec ministerial meeting'

Legislators fear civil disobedience protest will affect hosting of international event

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 05 November, 2013, 4:17am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 05 November, 2013, 4:38am

Lawmakers have expressed concern over the running of the Apec ministerial meeting in the city next year as it may coincide with the Occupy Central civil disobedience movement.

With China hosting the Asia-Pacific Economic Co-operation summit in 2014, finance ministers and central bank officials from 21 Apec member economies will gather for meetings in Hong Kong come September.

But the event may take place at the same time as the Occupy Central movement to blockade Central district next summer if the government fails to come up with a satisfactory plan to implement universal suffrage for the 2017 chief executive election.

Democrat Albert Ho Chun-yan said that if the government did not put a stop to the movement by offering a genuinely democratic proposal for political reform, the ministerial meeting - originally meant to build up Hong Kong's global reputation - could instead bring it shame.

Lawmaker Jeffrey Lam Kin-fung, of the Business and Professionals Alliance, urged the government to put measures in place to minimise any potential impact Occupy Central might have on the Apec event.

"We shouldn't let Wan Chai and Central districts be paralysed [by the Occupy Central protesters]," he said.

Au King-chi, permanent secretary at the Financial Services and the Treasury Bureau, said the police would set up a task force to assess risks and plan for security measures. But she did not disclose whether the government had any concrete contingency plan in place for the civil disobedience movement.

Hosting the ministerial meeting would cost Hong Kong up to HK$84 million including non- recurrent spending and staff salaries for time-limited civil service posts, Au said.

But accountancy sector lawmaker Kenneth Leung called on the government to avoid spending unnecessarily.

"The government shouldn't specially buy new luxury vehicles [for the finance ministers] and then sell them after a few days of use … This would be environmentally unfriendly," he said.

Hosting the 2005 World Trade Organisation ministerial conference cost the city up to HK$250 million.

 

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This article is now closed to comments

ianson
Perfect. APEC exposure for Occupy Central. More pressure on the goons in Beijing.
nmp_inc
This is a game by the local pro-regime elements and Beijing to de-legitimize the movement and induce fear so as to distract attention from the democratization discussion.
Practically it - the APEC ministerial meeting - means nothing insofar far protests go. Counter-summit protests have been the norm since the late-1990s. And - unlike most American and European protests - Hong Kong's tradition of peaceful protest is the rule rather than the exception. Even the 2005 WTO protests were a pale imitation of violence - and nearly all of that contained to external protest visitors to the SAR who came specifically to protest.
Just the same HK media and authorities exaggerated what little confrontations did occur. Had they used a wide angled lens, for instance, to show the protesters instead of a closely cropped shot the public would have seen it was just a little bunch of people. Nothing much to see at all.
The danger is in the way the government and the pro-democracy forces demonize each other. Insofar as HK being a base of subversion - its always been that during colonial and SAR-times. The CCP used it extensively as a base of subversion and intrigue as did Western forces. The CCP and KMT forces fought each in HK as a proxy site as well. What you are seeing today is just a continuance of those old scores that were never settled.

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