• Wed
  • Dec 24, 2014
  • Updated: 8:05am
Occupy Central
NewsHong Kong
POLITICS

'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.

 

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This article is now closed to comments

judykllee
He should also sign the petitions against murder, theft, rape, fraud, unauthorized building works, etc while he's at it
Just saying, if the legality of OC was that clear cut...
m2leung
I love how democracy fighters think they are fighting for democracy by blatantly denying the rights of others to sign a petition.
caractacus
This man is totally deluded and confused by the shabby cronies around him and has been so weak as to allow himself to led by the nose by apparatchik thugs across the border who are now pulling his strings almost daily. The impression is of a person who has always shoeshined his way into favour and position. Now he is CE, he should be in charge, but he is not a strong enough character to stamp his character on the style of government. His administration is not composed solely of rotten types, but the culture of cronyism has infected the top of every part of government. The corrupt tycoons are ruling the roost, the H e u n g Y e e K u k gangsters have free reign in the New Territories and the environment is hostage to crooked interests supported by dishonest senior civil servants.
What a shame for Hong Kong.
caractacus
If he is so much for the law, why doesn't he fire his officials who have their sticky, conflicted hands in the cash register with their land investments?
rvto
As private person he have the right to sign. In private means not for the invited press.
DinGao
He has just ruled himself out of any appeal process arising from any disciplinary action taken in future against any police officer or civil servant arising out of any Occupy activity.
ejmciii
Perhaps the question is in how the law is construed and applied and how freedom of speech and assembly rank versus the right of the CE to make sure his masters' will is imposed. Is that right not also part of the law, and likely paramount as the Basic Law supersedes the ordinances which are issued thereunder. But that is an unharmonious as harmony can only come from following the orders of the Masters, not the silly masses who are not even communists.
sundayatscmp
The politically easy thing to do is to sit the fence, and NOT to sign. He could even get away with such timidity by claiming to be neutral or statesman like. You could at least give the guy credit for taking a stance. Now you may argue against the stance he takes, but not his decision to take one. At the end, it's radical movements, such as OC, that polarize the society and discourage consensus building.
gavinanderson
Nobody has denied his right to sign. They said he should not have.
mdap
And do you ever make a personal phone call at work, using company property and expecting your company to foot the bill ...... grow up!

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