• Thu
  • Aug 21, 2014
  • Updated: 10:48am
Occupy Central
NewsHong Kong

If Occupy prompts Beijing to intervene, 'one country, two systems' would take a hit, adviser says

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 12 July, 2014, 3:28am
UPDATED : Saturday, 12 July, 2014, 4:33am

The "one country, two systems" principle on which post-colonial Hong Kong was founded would face a "grave" situation if the Occupy Central movement created prolonged disturbances that prompted intervention from Beijing, an adviser to the central government said.

The warning from Lau Siu-kai, vice-chairman of the Chinese Association of Hong Kong and Macau Studies, came a month after Zhou Nan , Beijing's former top representative in Hong Kong, said the People's Liberation Army would intervene if riots broke out in the city.

Meanwhile, an organiser of the Occupy Central campaign vowed members would "take action" if officials refused to meet them on electoral reforms, or were not sincere in taking on board the views of the public and results of Occupy's unofficial reform referendum.

"If the Occupy Central movement turned into serious and prolonged disturbances, the central government would certainly take drastic action," Lau told the South China Morning Post.

"If such a scenario happened, 'one country, two systems' would face a grave and serious situation. Nobody could predict the subsequent developments," he said.

Article 14 of the Basic Law states that the Hong Kong government may, when necessary, ask the central government for assistance from the Hong Kong garrison of the PLA in the maintenance of public order and in disaster relief.

Lau, a former head of the Central Policy Unit, the Hong Kong government's top think tank, said he did not want to speculate on what exactly would happen if Beijing intervened.

Occupy Central organisers are threatening to mobilise 10,000 supporters to block the main roads in the central business district if the government does not offer a satisfactory reform plan for the chief executive election in 2017, the first such poll Beijing has said may be held under universal suffrage.

Lau said the worrying scenario he outlined was unlikely to arise, as radical actions would spark a "conservative backlash" from moderate and pragmatic Hongkongers. "Besides, most pan-democrats do not favour extremist and radical actions," he said.

The Reverend Chu Yiu-ming, of Occupy, said yesterday that organisers hoped Hong Kong officials would meet them over electoral reforms. If they didn't, the movement would "take action".

He said if the reform framework drawn up by the National People's Congress Standing Committee in August failed to address calls for "genuine" universal suffrage, there could be strikes at businesses and universities.

Zhou, a former director of Xinhua in Hong Kong, warned the PLA would be deployed if the sit-in degenerated into riots.

Additional reporting by Ada Lee and Jeffie Lam



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This article is now closed to comments

Why waste time listening to this guy ? I listened to him on TV twice and that is more than enough.
The foreigners in HK and those HK people who has a foreign passport have nothing to lose, but the real HK people have.
Nobody likes to be threatened at gun point to do whatever things, be them right or wrong, good or bad for all HK people at large.
You can do it once and you can do it again, why a small group of radicals are in control but not you and me and the majority of people in HK.
"This guy is just a sleazy academic "

AKA a political sycophant pretending to be an academic.
"Grave situation" means grave for China. While it is fun to think that everyone in the world has gotten used to dealing directly with China within the China legal system, most foreign players still prefer the legal system of Hong Kong. The big unknown is how many foreign companies are stupid enough to deal with one country, one system with patriotic judges.
Article 14 doesn't matter much because it is the Central Authorities who decides when and if they send the troops in. The CE can request all day long (and if they were smart) they'd do nothing. However, what is the more operative issue here is that the Central Authorities can on their OWN initiative decide to send the troops in. They don't have to wait for CY to come crying. In fact, given the poor performance of the SAR government in gauging the local situation a VERY strong argument can be made that the CE and Hong Kong's illustrious 'patriots' would just be a very small speed bump on the PLA's rush out from their citadels scattered across the territory. Most likely, insofar as Beijing is concerned, CY's days are very numbered given the turnout for the OCLP referendum, majority demands from the public for civil nomination, and the massive turnout for July 1st. Moreover, the badly handled violent removal of the peaceful demonstrators has already demonstrated the SAR government can't cut it. That should be the biggest motivator for the central authorities to chuck their 'patriots ruling Hong Kong" policy and open it up to everyone because the patriots just don't work.
I have full faith in our Police. They can handle small scale riots which would likely be the case as most HK people are peace-loving. The danger would be 'imported elements' from countries with extremists or even terrorists. In a financial centre as HK if things get messy some people can make a quick buck by selling short on the HSI. Once the PLA intervenes because of this the HSI could easily drop a few thousand points and the sellers will have a field day.
The concern should be having PLA soldiers imposing martial law on HK and our putative government giving tacit acceptance of the same. Imported elements? The only imported elements will be PLA tanks and soldiers.
I really don't understand why the SCMP keeps reporting what Prof. Lau Siu Kai thinks. The man has neither credibility nor relevance.
The relevance is that the government in the mainland, and by extension here, is considering martial law in HK if people exercise their rights and freedoms. That strikes me as a relevant consideration. The self fulfilling prophecy. RIP, One Nation, Two Systems as the Mainland determined that One Nation must trump in all cases Two Systems.
He is a well respected scholar and his observation and theory are well founded. His view shared via interviews in TV programs or via his periodical publications effectively communicate his latest outlook of political situation in HK. SCMP does a fair job.




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