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  • Dec 20, 2014
  • Updated: 9:03pm
Occupy Central
NewsHong Kong
POLITICS

Older crowd turns out for anti-Occupy Central signature campaign

Movements' demographic divide clear as signature campaign starts up

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 20 July, 2014, 6:06am
UPDATED : Sunday, 20 July, 2014, 6:06am
 

The generation gap was as stark as the political divide between those who signed up to oppose Occupy Central yesterday and those who voted in last month's unofficial referendum by the pro-democracy movement.

Grey hair predominated as the Alliance for Peace and Democracy kicked off its signature drive calling for the achievement of universal suffrage by 2017 in a "peaceful and non-violent manner" without occupying Central.

Most of those the Sunday Morning Post observed at four booths in Jordan, To Kwa Wan, Central and Causeway Bay were elderly or middle-aged.

And while many expressed concern about Occupy Central's plan to block streets for democracy, others did not seem quite sure just what they were signing up to.

"It's about my own interests," said Cheung Tak-kan, 56, as he signed the petition at a booth in Queen's Road Central, not far from the jewellery shop he runs. "The sit-in will make tourists feel we are chaotic and this will affect my business."

Occupy Central's poll, which attracted 800,000 mostly younger voters last month, was confined to permanent residents. But the signature campaign was less stringent. People signing up at the 468 stations across the city are asked for identity card numbers along with their names. Children and non-residents may also join.

Cheung's nephew from Fujian signed it - as did a Taiwanese woman who admitted never having heard of Occupy Central. She was unable to describe the purpose of the campaign, saying she "only knew it was about peace".

At the Yue Hwa Chinese Products Emporium in Jordan, a Post reporter managed to sign two forms within 45 minutes without volunteers noticing.

The volunteers also ignored organisers' instructions to ask people whether they had given their names before, and accepted any forms after a quick check of the identity cards. A similar scene unfolded at Jardine's Crescent in Causeway Bay.

But for some, all that mattered was the principles: a desire to prevent illegal activities and to secure political reform.

Nick Allen, 59, who has lived in Hong Kong since 1985, said he believed that it was possible to get a fair and democratic election for chief executive in 2017 by negotiation.

The accountant said the Occupy referendum, which put forward three models by which the public would choose candidates, "did not provide broad enough choices and was not fair".

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This article is now closed to comments

cleareye
The OC's demand universal suffrage but refuse universal opinions on Occupy Central. They play out overseas comments for democracy but condemn visitors/outside perspectives offering a neutral view on the city's possible social unrest. Reporter Joyce Ng is either a proponent of OC or an amateur reporter who violated the organizer's honesty plea in not repeating the signatures. Instead of investigating whether there were intentional abuses by the organizers, SCMP purposely corrupted the process just to cast doubt and sensationalize its story. Without proof Ms. Ng claimed that there were 800,000 participants in the OC poll, who were "young" and "confined to permanent residents" without naming the source or verifying the authenticity in numbers and demographics. Ms. Ng also failed to clarify how many of those polls were minors. The press also overlooked that of the 511 arrested students, less than 90 were college students, the rest 420+ were grade school students who confessed that they were told to sit in Chater Road because they were minors and nothing would happen to them. Such gross exploitation of young minds, again, went unreported. With such bias/delinquent journalism, how can readers get a fair assessment of our society's truth picture? When it comes to demanding freedom of the press, shouldn't integrity be demanded first?
shuike
Fully agree with you. The SCMP journos are extremely biased & I feel it's not appropriate that they should be able to abuse their privilege with media space to brainwash or to blackwash others.
ngsw
OC will disrupt the traffic in Central and the blockage may extend to other districts, as the traffic queues may extend through the cross harbour tunnel to Kowloon. They are free to occupy anything they like so far the occupation does not affect other people. Can I occupy your house?
daily
I think it is the stupid kids these days that are uneducated and gullible despite the fact that they claim to be university students/graduates.
captainlui
GOOD TO KNOW MANY OLDER PEOPLE HAD MADE BETTER JUDGMENT AND FEASONABLE SENSE TO SUGNED UP FOR ANTI-OCCUPY CENTRAL
mymak
Has no one seen the irony in this. A government that is frightened of asking the people what they want through the ballot box, going out on the street to collect signatures, in effect votes, to try and get a higher number than that won by the winning proposal in the unofficial referendum that the government and the anit-Occupy Central lobby have continuously said was meaningless. Wouldn't it just be cheaper and less disruptive if we chose 1 day and held a joint referendum, with international observers to ensure fairness, to ask Hong Kong people what they want? At the end of the day as referendums are not legal in Hong Kong the government could just ignore the results, but at least everyone would be happy that the vote was fair.
ngsw
The “referendum” vote is fair? All over the world up to now, is there any serious political voting carried out in an electronic platform. It is just a digital game.
allandyer
How does anyone know that the Occupy poll attracted, "mostly younger voters"? Most of the people I know who voted are over 50. At the rally, I observed a full range of participation: youths, middle-aged, old-aged. Only one of these campaigns has a limited demographic.
John Adams
I voted and signed today for ANTI occupy Central
I am totally opposed to these extremist actions, which is why I did NOT march on 1 July
53bfa35c-a1e0-481e-8c1d-4c4c0a320968
Joyce Ng should re-study how to be a journalist.

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