Occupy Central

Reverend Chu Yiu-ming set to assume role of Occupy Central leader

PUBLISHED : Friday, 03 January, 2014, 3:59am
UPDATED : Friday, 03 January, 2014, 2:45pm

The Occupy Central campaign is to name the Reverend Chu Yiu-ming as its leader in the next two weeks and will set up a task force to organise protests to continue pressuring the government for universal suffrage.

Chu, an Occupy organiser, revealed the move yesterday, a day after some 62,000 people voted in an electoral reform survey commissioned by the campaign.

He said two other leading organisers of the civil disobedience movement, Benny Tai Yiu-ting and Dr Chan Kin-man, wanted him "to take up" the role.

The pair had been pondering whether Chu or Labour Party chairman Lee Cheuk-yan should be "commander-in-chief" to spearhead action should the movement unleash its plan to blockade Central.

"I have more connections with different activist groups, and experience in large-scale social campaigns, so my only considerations are my age and my physical strength," Chu, who turns 70 this month, said.

The Baptist minister and veteran activist known for helping fugitive Tiananmen Square protesters in 1989 said Lee's Labour Party role might cause concerns about his suitability.

"But we will not shut out experienced people in political parties, so we are picking people from some activist bodies to form an Occupy Central action group," he said.

In Wednesday's poll, voters overwhelmingly backed more public participation in the 2017 chief executive election. That included 94 per cent who demanded that the public have a say in nominating candidates, while 91 per cent voted against a "filter" mechanism to ensure the candidates were acceptable to Beijing.

The results will figure in discussions on Occupy's third "deliberation day" and the vote served as a warm-up for a referendum that the movement will hold in June.

Chu reiterated that the campaigners would not go ahead with their plan to block Central with 10,000 protesters until the government had tabled its reform package.

Meanwhile, student group Scholarism has urged pan-democratic lawmakers in the five geographical constituencies to resign and trigger a "de facto" referendum through a by-election, to allow voters to show they favour public nomination for the 2017 poll. They will negotiate with the parties next month.