Occupy Central

Hong Kong’s Occupy protest ‘was an attempt at colour revolution’: PLA general

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 03 March, 2015, 1:57am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 03 March, 2015, 7:30pm

The Occupy protests were "an orchestrated Hong Kong version of a colour revolution" and Beijing's response should serve as a warning to advocates for Taiwan's independence, according to a senior PLA general.

General Sun Jianguo, a deputy chief of the General Staff of the People's Liberation Army, made the comments as he discussed China's national security in an interview with Oriental Outlook, a magazine affiliated with Xinhua. The article was carried by major mainland news portals yesterday.

While a former Beijing top official on Hong Kong affairs, Chen Zuoer , used similar terms to describe the "umbrella movement" at the height of the protests in October, it is rare, if not unprecedented, for such comments to come from military top brass.

Sun had been discussing the important role of competition in Sino-US ties and maritime territorial disputes in the East and South China seas, when he touched on the risk China faced in terms of subversion campaigns by foreign states.

"Hostile forces have always attempted to make Hong Kong the bridgehead for subverting and infiltrating mainland China," Sun said. "The illegal Occupy Central activities in 2014 came as minority radical groups in Hong Kong, under the instigation and support of external forces … orchestrated a Hong Kong version of a colour revolution."

He said the central government had shown firm support for the Hong Kong government in dealing with the protests, and that Beijing's defence of "one country, two systems" should also serve as a warning to Taiwan's pro-independence forces.

Joseph Cheng Yu-shek, chair professor of public policy at City University, said Sun's remarks "definitely reflect the central government's stance".

"Occupy has been categorised as an act by the enemy, in the communists' way of thinking," Cheng said, adding that Beijing looked almost certain to have a harsher response to pro-democracy campaigns in Hong Kong.

Democratic Party lawmaker Albert Ho Chun-yan described the comment as "ultra-leftist". "Occupy was never meant to overthrow any regime. And if [Sun] relates Occupy to Taiwan, it will only further alienate the Taiwanese."

Sun's remarks came after a brief suggestion by National People's Congress deputy Stanley Ng Chau-pei to extend the mainland's national security laws to Hong Kong after the Occupy protests. Ng later denied having sought support from other deputies on this.

In January, Sun named Hong Kong as one of China's "core interests and key concerns" when meeting US undersecretary of defence for intelligence Michael Vickers, in Beijing.