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  • Dec 20, 2014
  • Updated: 11:53am
Occupy Central
NewsHong Kong

Occupy Central being used by anti-China forces to try to seize power, warns former Xinhua official

Ex-Xinhua head accused of scare tactics after warning movement is being used by anti-China forces and PLA will step in if riots occur

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 08 June, 2014, 5:23am
UPDATED : Sunday, 08 June, 2014, 6:45am

"Anti-China forces" are using the Occupy Central movement to try to seize control of Hong Kong's administration, a former director of Xinhua's Hong Kong branch has warned. Zhou Nan said the People's Liberation Army would intervene if riots broke out in the city.

His remarks to two Hong Kong broadcasters come as the civil disobedience movement is mobilising Hongkongers to participate in its June 20-22 "civil referendum" - intended to show the public's preferences for electoral reform. A co-founder of the movement accused him of scare tactics.

"Occupy Central … is illegal and violates Hong Kong's rule of law," Zhou said in the television interview in Beijing. "This has demonstrated that a portion of the anti-China forces inside and outside Hong Kong are conspiring to usurp the jurisdiction of the city, which should never be allowed."

He said that if appropriate action was not taken, these forces would become even more "arrogant" and might even call for Hong Kong's independence.

We could not allow Hong Kong to turn into a base to subvert China's ... regime
Former Xinhua official, Zhou Nan

Occupy Central has vowed to mobilise 10,000 supporters to block the main roads in Central if the government fails to offer a satisfactory reform plan for the chief executive election in 2017, which Beijing has said may be held under universal suffrage in accordance with the Basic Law, the city's post-handover mini-constitution.

Zhou, who also served as a minister of foreign affairs and played a prominent role in the negotiations with Britain over Hong Kong's future when Xinhua was Beijing's de facto embassy in the city, warned the central government would intervene if riots broke out in Hong Kong.

Zhou said: "On the matter of the [PLA] garrison, [the late leader] Deng Xiaoping said that it has another function other than as a symbol of sovereignty - to handle possible riots.

"Would the central government get involved if there was something harmful to the country's interests happening in Hong Kong? We could not allow Hong Kong to turn into a base to subvert China's socialist regime under the guise of democracy."

He said that Article 23 of the Basic Law, which requires the city to enact a law to prevent treason, secession, subversion and sedition against the central government, was specifically designed to prevent Hong Kong turning into a base for such activity.

The government's attempt to pass the required legislation in 2003 failed after it triggered a massive protest by half a million people who saw the draft legislation as a threat to the rights and freedoms of Hongkongers. The march forced the government to shelve the measure.

Benny Tai Yiu-ting, a co-founder of Occupy Central and a legal scholar at the University of Hong Kong, said the civil disobedience movement was by no means subversive.

"Zhou only wants to scare off Hongkongers with his words so as to discourage people from participating in the referendum on June 20-22 and the [annual] July 1 protest," he said.

Democratic Party founding chairman Martin Lee Chu-ming believed Zhou's remarks did not represent the central government's view. There was no need to deploy the PLA to handle Occupy Central, he said, as the Hong Kong police had already said they were confident they could take care of any problems that might arise.


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This article is now closed to comments

The only people stirring up trouble in Hong Kong are Beijing officials such as Zhou Nan and their supporters. If they simply keep their promises to implement universal suffrage the most radical action we will see in Hong Kong is a democratic election. If they do not keep their promise the only violence we can expect would be their heavy-handed response to non-violence protest.
China =/= Not the Communist Party
To be against the Communist Government is not being against the Country.
If a grown man within a political seat can't tell the simple difference between government and country, between simple criticism of governing and the simple definition of treason....he's just giving justification to the criticism!!
Dai Muff
Historically in Hong Kong, the level of violence and aggression against democrats FAR exceeds any violence used BY democrats. And the "loving" Hong Kong loons are the ones threatening it this time.
Not anti-china...it's called anti-communism, anti-censorship...
Stop using anti-china to justify all the forceful action that was taken.
His comments, so patently ridiculous and downright stupid, will likely bring out an additional 20,000 people. Remember Regina (mop head) Ip and the '23' national security statements so long ago? Her stupidity brought out half a million people.
We are not alone in keeping mouths shut: All those UK comments vis a vis Scotland will cause the Scottish voters to leave the U.K. It seems no one will ever learn!
"Anti-China forces" from outside Hong Kong involved in Occupy Central? Name them, Zhou, or leave us certain that you're just another CCP despot mouthing off.
Marcus T Anthony
Just in. Jim Henson's estate has contacted Beijing and is demanding royalties for Zhou Nan's copyright violations. They allege Zhou has been impersonating a muppet without their approval.
The Chinese character for Official is made up of two characters for mouth. That's appropriate, as Zhou is speaking on both sides of his. China does not respect the rule of laws and systematically exploit its unrepresented mass to benefit a small group of elites, their families and cronies. When it comes to Hong Kong, it has adopted a heavy hand against democratic progress and has inserted its cronies in commanding position strategically across the former colony. Freedom of speech and peaceful demonstration are enshrined under Hong Kong's Basic Laws - defacto constitution. The act of civil disobedience against arbitrary decisions made by Beijing appointed administrators is not only legal but is constitutionally guaranteed. Furthermore, interference in Hong Kong's domestic political development by Beijing violates both the letter and spirit of the Basic Laws. Mr. Zhou seems not concerned about Beijing's infractions but erroneously attack citizens of Hong Kong for exercising their constitutional rights. What's the Chinese character for hypocrisy, I ask?
hard times !
This old guy might have gone mad while scaring most Hongkongers by accusing the upcoming non-violent civil-disobedience campaign:'Occupy Central' as an act of anti-China forces (not democracy pursurers ?) to seize power from the SAR administration.Actually, it is a movement to demand our geniune universal suffrage in 2017 from Beijing authorities only !
Dai Muff
What a moron.
Every day a new anti-Occupy Central scare story from the SCMP.



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