DEMOCRACY
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Occupy Central

Pro-democracy leaders could call for strikes before Occupy Central, says organiser

Reverend Chu Yiu-ming urges government to show 'sincerity' and negotiate political reform or face strikes at businesses, schools and universities

PUBLISHED : Friday, 11 July, 2014, 2:00pm
UPDATED : Friday, 11 July, 2014, 7:26pm

A non-cooperation campaign involving strikes at businesses, schools and universities could be launched ahead of the planned Occupy Central protest, an organiser of the pro-democracy movement said.

Reverend Chu Yiu-ming said strikes may be organised if the government was not “sincere” in taking on board the views of the public and negotiating political reform in Hong Kong with the movement.

But there was some confusion on Friday as to whether the strikes would be initiated this month or next, when Beijing will set its guidelines for reform. 

Chu called on the government to meet with Occupy leaders to discuss the demands of the almost 800,000 people who voted in an unofficial referendum on reform options for the 2017 chief executive election.

Chu said the non-cooperation movement could also be triggered if the government refuses to meet with Occupy's leadership.

On Thursday, the Federation of Students announced that they could call for student strikes next month, when the National People’s Congress Standing Committee delivers its guidelines for political reform.

Lester Shum of the federation said that if the guidelines failed to address Hongkongers’ concerns, the students would organise strikes.

All three of the reform options shortlisted in the Occupy poll would allow the public to nominate candidates for the city’s top job, while voters also overwhelmingly called for lawmakers to reject any reform plan that does not guarantee a genuine choice between candidates.

Organisers of the July 1 pro-democracy march said over 500,000 took part, the biggest turnout in a decade, although that figure has been disputed.

The strikes would come before any Occupy Central protest, which would only happen after the government delivers its official plan for how the 2017 election should be held.

The official reform plan is expected later this year.

Occupy organisers plan to stage an open-ended sit-in protest in Central if the government’s plan does not guarantee voters a genuine choice.

On Friday, Chu said Occupy organisers was preparing back-up plans in the event that key leaders of the movement were arrested before the mass sit-in began.

An alternative leadership structure was being developed, while a legal team is already in place, Chu said.

Organisers are also hoping to bring together a medical team to supervise the planned protest, he said.

Shum of the federation also clarified on Thursday that it would not be launching a large-scale civil disobedience campaign next Tuesday when the chief secretary delivers a report summarising the public’s views on reform.

He said the report was unlikely to offer a clear message as to the government’s plans.

Secretary for Constitutional and Mainland Affairs Raymond Tam Chi-yuen said on Thursday the reform report would include ideas such as public nomination and party nomination, but would not pass judgment on them.

Views aired in Occupy’s unofficial referendum and at the July 1 rally – which took place after the public consultation ended in May – would be excluded.

"It is entirely up to the chief executive to decide whether he wants to reflect the latest sentiments in his own report, to be submitted to the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress," Tam said.

In its report, the government would mention that there were consultation submissions supporting calls to let the public nominate candidates for the 2017 ballot, a source said.

The source said Lam’s report would state there was no need to amend the Basic Law to change the method of electing Legco in 2016, as most submissions did not call for major reforms.