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  • Dec 25, 2014
  • Updated: 8:13am
Occupy Central
NewsHong Kong
POLITICS

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

Dai Muff
Excuse me but "prompts Beijing to intervene" is sounding incredibly like someone trying to exonerate someone from responsibility. If Beijing intervenes it will be Beijing's decision and responsibility. Not Hong Kong's. The Basic Law limits the right of intervention to specific conditions. Hasn't this guy been banging this drum for weeks already? Why is it news again today? Henry Tang warned us that CY would be prone to call in the PLA. CY denied it. We'll see.
strangefellow
I really don't understand why the SCMP keeps reporting what Prof. Lau Siu Kai thinks. The man has neither credibility nor relevance.
ejmciii
Yes it would be terrible if Beijing used some simple demonstrations which to date have done nothing to justify sending in the storm troopers and using any excuse they can to renege on the agreements that they made. Rest assured that HK's days as an entrepot and financial hub would be ended by Beijing 's ham-fisted implementation of autocratic authority and proclivity for violating its agreements. One can only hope that the HK Government and the Central Government actually listen to all sectors of society, not just the ones that tell them what they want to hear and we can avert such an unnecessary invasion and violation of our rights and freedoms. The only people who see a desire for self determination as radical are the Mainland Masters and their local minions.
r6b
This guy is just a sleazy academic trying to make a name for himself at the expense of others.
HK police are fully tested in crowd control and have proved themselves capable and reliable.
Go back 7+ years when others were wringing their hands about how the PLA would be needed
to control the Korean farmers who were protesting at the financial forum in Wanchai.
HK police proved once and for all that they are consummate professionals who can intelligently and effectively
maintain order in the face of rapidly changing protester tactics.
By contrast , PLA ( or any other army) are trained in the skills of efficient mass killing to maintain national defence.
They have no crowd control expertise whatsoever.
Bluntly speaking, Beijing cannot afford another Tiananmen international backlash in any other Chinese city.
Paradox314
honest?
You mean, ignorant, blind, foolish sheep?
nmp_inc
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.
ejmciii
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.
lucadep
"He did not want to speculate on what exactly would happen" so why not to keep your mouth shut in the first place and avoid saying such groundless non-sense?
ejmciii
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.
robkemp
There have been riots and demonstrations in mainlamd cities about petrochemical plants being built - for example. No PLA intervention there. Why HK?

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