• Tue
  • Dec 23, 2014
  • Updated: 11:29pm
Occupy Central
NewsHong Kong

'There is no neutrality': CY Leung signs petition against Occupy Central

Chief executive says his signing of the petition against the Occupy Central civil disobedience movement is a matter of law, not politics

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 16 August, 2014, 2:57am
UPDATED : Saturday, 16 August, 2014, 5:19pm

Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying brushed off the question of political neutrality yesterday as he publicly added his signature to the petition denouncing the Occupy Central movement.

"There is no neutrality in it," he said when asked if he should have refrained from taking sides. "There is no 'middle area' between breaking the law and not breaking the law."

Coming just hours after the Democratic Party met Beijing's top representative in the city, Zhang Xiaoming , Leung's signing raised questions about whether political divisions would be deepened at a time when a middle ground is being sought on reform.

Petition co-organiser and Alliance for Peace and Democracy leader Robert Chow Yung defended the chief executive's action, saying Leung's signing was "high profile" only because journalists "chose to cover" it.

But Leung's plan was publicised yesterday afternoon when the government's Information Services Department announced he would sign the petition and meet the media at the General Chamber of Commerce's Admiralty office at 5.15pm. He was accompanied by his office director Edward Yau Tang-wah, Chow and two alliance spokesmen.

Leung dismissed suggestions he was misusing public resources by signing the petition during working hours and bringing his media relations team.

The chief executive said he was signing the petition in a "personal capacity" and brought his team because he knew reporters would be interested about matters other than the petition.

Leung joins at least five high-level officials who have signed the alliance's petition - among them health chief Dr Ko Wing-man, Education Secretary Eddie Ng Hak-kim and development chief Paul Chan Mo-po.

Chinese University political scientist Ma Ngok said Leung's participation in the anti-Occupy campaign was tantamount to showing that "the government is declaring war on Occupy Central". This would encourage civil servants and policemen to voice their opposition to the civil disobedience movement, he said.

Leung's signing of the petition came as police finalised plans for handling a series of protest rallies to be held tomorrow by Chow's alliance to oppose planned civil disobedience protests and show support for the government.

The force declined to address questions about the size of the demonstration, citing confidential operation planning.

"We will have a suitable deployment and flexible manpower planning ... and we will carry out our duty in a fair and impartial manner," Senior Superintendent Tan Wing-yuen said.

Alliance organisers say they expect about 120,000 people to march from Victoria Park in Causeway Bay to Chater Garden in Central.

Thousands of government supporters are also expected to run along the rally route early on Sunday.

The petition calls for universal suffrage in time for the chief executive election in 2017 - a goal it shares with Occupy Central - but it specifies that must happen in a "peaceful and non-violent manner" without occupying Central and bringing it to a standstill.

Chow said more than 1.2 million people had signed.



Related topics

For unlimited access to:

SCMP.com SCMP Tablet Edition SCMP Mobile Edition 10-year news archive



This article is now closed to comments

As Chief Executive, CY Leung has a responsibility to bring Hong Kongers together, to build consensus. Instead he seems happy to support those who are polarising Hong Kong. More and more he seems less of a leader, more like he's following orders. Signing this fake petition lacking is a grubby act, utterly lacking in statesmanship.
"There is no 'middle area' between breaking the law and not breaking the law." ~CY Leung on illegal structures. Ha ha...just kidding...
He is clearly not the CE for all Hong Kong residents, as he should be.
People who live in illegal structures should not through stones (Or sign petitions)
Wrong, CY, very wrong.
He signed in his "personal capacity" but his signature was reported by the Information Services Department...
It is highly unusual to have street demonstrations from groups that support government policies in a democratic country. Usually it is the other way round. The only country I can think of is North Korea. CYL signed the petition using the CE office space during working hr and tax payers money and he has the guts to say it is a personal act.
The CCP really found a perfect shameless and self-centered traitor to Hong Kong in CYL.
You're a good communist, CY Leung
CY Leung is just another puppet from China. He's only doing this to show his loyalty to the communist party. The title "Alliance for Peace and Democracy" is just so misleading and contradicting. I really hope Hong Kong can gain its own independence.



SCMP.com Account