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  • Dec 20, 2014
  • Updated: 11:44pm
Occupy Central
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Hong Kong poised for political showdown on 2017 election; Jimmy Lai to join Occupy

With Beijing set to impose 2017 election limits, Jimmy Lai says he will join Occupy Central

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 31 August, 2014, 4:40am
UPDATED : Sunday, 31 August, 2014, 8:53am

With Beijing expected to confirm a tough framework today for the 2017 chief executive election, both sides of the political divide have stepped up the rhetoric.

The decision to limit the number of candidates who can stand is likely to trigger a showdown with Occupy Central campaigners - and there was an added twist to the saga yesterday when media tycoon Jimmy Lai Chee-ying said he would join the civil disobedience movement.

A former top Beijing official on the city's affairs warned that Occupy Central would end in bloodshed if its organisers refused to back down.

Chen Zuoer, former deputy director of the Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office, also suggested in an RTHK interview that the movement was being "manipulated by Western countries to overthrow a regime", and that Beijing "would not tolerate such action".

But Occupy Central founder Benny Tai Yiu-ting emphasised that his campaign was not meant to challenge Beijing's sovereignty. "We are just seeking a fair electoral system, so that everyone can exercise their political rights," he said.

The National People's Congress Standing Committee is expected to endorse a decision today that only two or three candidates - who have secured half of a 1,200-strong nominating committee's support - will be allowed to stand in 2017, when Hong Kong picks its first chief executive by universal suffrage.

Pan-democrats say the framework would deprive people of a genuine choice of candidates. The Occupy Central campaign plans to hold a rally outside government headquarters today to announce its next move.

Lai - whose home was searched by graft-busters on Thursday over accusations that some lawmakers had accepted advantages after leaked emails exposed his donations to pan-democrats - confirmed in an RTHK interview that he would take part in Occupy and continue to donate to pan-democrats.

"I will participate in Occupy Central, lie on the street together and go to jail together [with other protesters]," he said, while dismissing suggestions that his donations were related to foreign powers.

On the opposite side, the Small and Medium Law Firms Association of Hong Kong, a group led by Maggie Chan Man-ki of the Beijing-friendly Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong, will launch a hotline tomorrow to offer free legal advice "for citizens affected by Occupy Central".

During his RTHK interview, Chen pointed to the conflicts in Libya and Ukraine in accusing Western countries of promoting Occupy Central.

"[In Libya and Ukraine,] some people persuaded specially trained citizens to take part in the civil disobedience movement, in a bid to create bloodshed," Chen said. "And when the government takes enforcement action, the masterminds take the moral high ground to condemn the governments and overthrow them."

When asked whether the People's Liberation Army's local garrison would be mobilised in the event of a large-scale sit-in in the financial hub, he replied: "Beijing would not sit there and ignore such a situation".

But Chen also said he believed Hong Kong police could handle the matter.

Speaking at a media gathering in Beijing, NPC deputy Dr David Wong Yau-kar said Occupy Central would not sway Beijing.

"Universal suffrage means a lot to Hong Kong, and we should welcome it happily," he said. "As time goes on, I think more people would want to have a vote" rather than to have a failed reform.

He lamented that the debate on political reform in the past year had highlighted key "fundamental issues" that had not been discussed rationally.

On Beijing officials' earlier warning about the relationship between democracy and national security, Wong said: "In a sense, it was quite naive for the pan-democrats to ask 'what does universal suffrage have to do with national security?'"

He said that if a pan-democrat became the city's leader, he could face a "dilemma" if someone organised a religious forum in town and decided to invite the Dalai Lama. Beijing would also be concerned about what such a chief executive could do with all the public resources and sensitive information at his fingertips, he suggested.

Wong said: "As long as pan-democrats call for things such as 'ending one-party dictatorship', it is unlikely that Beijing would allow them to run", as it was written in the national constitution that China shall be led by the Communist Party.

And if the pan-democrats were to rule Hong Kong, they should start grooming leaders who only focus on local issues and are not critical of the central government, Wong said.

He lamented that given their experience and standing, pan-democrats - especially the moderates - did not dare to say "no" and allowed radicals and student activists to tell them what to do.


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John Adams
What's so wrong with "only two or three" candidates ?
That's all that the UK and USA get these days ( the candidates being chosen by the political parties = aka "nomination committees" who get the most donations from rich private individuals and big business)
(OK - technically in the UK you can vote for Screaming Lord Sutch and the Raving Loony party , but we in HK will never be able to vote for long-now-short-hair, bald Albert and mad-dog Wong of the HK- Absolutely -Totally- Raving- Loony party. But I think that's no great loss ! I must say I feel a bit sorry for the better of the pan-dems, but when Albert Ho goes on CX junkets and does not have the moral integrity to resign when caught pigging at the trough, and when Emily screeches like a haridan and Benny Tai shaves his head.... I also think that's no great loss )
Dai Muff
As has been explained to United Front posters dozens of times, the difference is that there the nominations do not come from one overriding and dominant state but from individual parties that HAVE TO choose someone popular in order to win the election. Beijing faces no such issues.
This is why choosing Sarah Palin was such a disaster for the Republicans. You guys can pretend not to understand this point a thousand times, but it will still be worth repeating.
I think you can find bigger junket takers than Albert Ho if you really try. Just give it a shot. Come on. You know you can do it.
China needs to develop some political maturity, learn to negotiate differences and stop having a hissy fit every time someone, or even a number of someones, disagree with any of their policies. There are mature democracies in the world that are reasonably functional -- they just don't happen to have had empires or be trying to hold onto them...
RTHK Radio just announced the Chen Zuo'er said that if OC doesn't back down "there will be blood"...SCMP follow through with this. It's an outrageous statement...and they've compared OC with Libya and Ukraine. If they really think so then they really have no comprehension of reality.
We could use their logic to say that the CCP is the soft p-o-r-n version of North Korea...and you wouldn't be wrong....
Hong Kong has been betrayed by some pro-Beijing Hong Kongers, if they said the values of the pan-demo is that of the colonial heritage... I think these pro-beijing people are even more influenced by the colonial system than any of us..... they are still sticking to the colonial system and wants it perpetuated even after China resumed sovereignty.....
We don't have to come to this. Why not build another democracy of Chinese people along with Taiwan, the only condition is forsaking anti-Beijing stance.
By the way, Central is nothing related to democracy and is our business hub. It is meant livelihood to many people, not just tycoons. Don't ruin it.
Yeah, and in HK we can also choose between two or three, or even five grocery stores: ParknWeep, Fusion, Great, and Taste. Real alternatives!
In the UK nobody but the political elites get to nominate Cameron as Prime Minister, just as nobody voted for Brown to succeed Blair, or for the current Coalition government. There was NI democratuc vote involving the general electorate, just as nobody but vested corporate interests get to decide that Americans will be asked to choose between a Clinton or a Bush (or a Kennedy). And the EU?!
<b>The notion of "universal suffrage" is a myth, spread by miscreants and swallowed up by the naive and the gullible. </b>
Are you blind? Do you REALLY believe that this will end well for Hong Kong? Your hearts may be in the right place, but for Heaven's sake, use your eyes, your ears and above all your brains!
Hong Kong has 150 years experience of the application of Western democratic principles in Asia, and do you REALLY want more of THAT?
You may complacently smirk that what is happening in Ukraine, Iraq, Libya and Ferguson USA could never happen here, but those people thought that too. Ukraine and Iraq are now savouringbthe benefits of US-sponsored "democracy", and after they have tried to take China down (jyst as they are trying to take down Russia now) do you think your demicratic friends in the West will treat you with any greater consideration? YOU ARE PAWNS IN A BIGGER GAME, and you can dream all the American Dreams you like, but to them you are simply "useful idiots"
<B>WAKE UP</B> from this nonsense and take pride in who you actually are, not in being a puppet
Witness the death of one nation, two systems. RIP hopes and dreams that the Communists would honor their agreements as to autonomy. Threats of the PLA marching into central must make the Beijing tools happy. Soon their masters will come home to set things right. The death of HK as a financial center comes not from Occupy Central but from the tyrants in Beijing who will not tolerate dissent from their edicts. Communists rule and citizens take their orders like good boys and girls. These omens portend an ill wind coming from China and likely soon.
John Adams
I fully agree with you Mr ******* !
Give me the CCP any day than American Iraq-style invasion-led democracy !



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