'Extremists' in Occupy Central will not succeed, Beijing official warns
‘Extremist’ democrats who try to force central government to give in on 2017 vote by blocking Central will face full force of law, warns official
Phila Siu and Kwong Man-ki in Beijing
Beijing will not give in to "extremist acts" such as those planned by Occupy Central, a mainland official in charge of Hong Kong affairs has declared.
Wang Guangya, the director of the State Council's Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office, was quoted as saying yesterday that the civil-disobedience movement, which aims to clog the business centre to push for democracy, represented only the views of a minority.
His views were relayed by Hong Kong members of provincial advisory bodies after they met Wang in Beijing.
"[Beijing] hopes Hongkongers can be rational," Tam Kam-kau, president of the Hong Kong CPPCC (Provincial) Members Association, said. "As for the small group of democrats who wreak havoc and use extremist acts to force the central government to give in, they will not succeed. If the illegal Occupy Central movement really takes place, [Beijing] believes the Hong Kong government will enforce the law accordingly."
Tam also quoted Wang as saying Beijing supported universal suffrage in 2017, but the chief executive election should be in accordance with the Basic Law and related decisions by the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress.
Beijing insists that allowing voters to nominate candidates - a key element of demands by Occupy Central and its supporters - would breach the mini-constitution.
Association chairwoman Eliza Chan quoted Wang as saying that Occupy Central represented only the minority, while most people were silent and the city should not suffer damage because of a small group.
Wang also had said the radical lawmakers' filibuster holding up passage of the budget bill would hurt people's interests and seriously affect the city's stability.
He said Hong Kong people and mainlanders had very different levels of civilisation so both sides should be more understanding of the other, a reference to anti-mainlander protests and the row over a child urinating in public.
Meanwhile, in an attempt to improve turnout at its unofficial referendum next month, Occupy Central organisers are planning to add another question to the vote: should the Legislative Council veto the government's political reform if it is not up to international standards?
The referendum, on June 22, will ask people to choose one of three reform proposals. All contain elements of public nomination, raising fears the turnout may be small because of limited choice.
"This is why we are planning to add a fourth question … to draw people across the political spectrum," campaign co-founder Dr Chan Kin-man said.