If the Occupy Central movement's plan to block traffic goes ahead, it could turn into a debacle for Hong Kong's chief executive, warns former chief secretary Anson Chan Fang On-sang.
But Chan, who launched a new group to forge a consensus on the path to genuine universal suffrage on Wednesday, said she did not intend to lead the pan-democrats in negotiating with Beijing on electoral reform.
Hong Kong 2020 is based on the now disbanded Citizens' Commission on Constitutional Development, which she founded in 2008. The group is the third from the pro-democracy camp working on the coming political reform. None of its six members belongs to a political party.
Chan said yesterday that the government was reluctant to facilitate public discussions on the reform, and that her group would be a platform to reach a consensus on the approach. It would focus particularly on seeking opinions from the business sector in the coming months.
"Businesspeople in Hong Kong might worry that it could affect their mainland investments if they get too close to the pan-democrats," she said. "But the sector's voices are influential in political reform and they have to understand they cannot stay away from the discussion."
Liberal Party honorary chairman James Tien Pei-chun said Chan missed some of the sector's key concerns. "What they want is a harmonious society," he said.
Chan said the plan by Occupy Central - led by law academic Dr Benny Tai Yiu-ting - to rally at least 10,000 protesters to blockade Central district in July next year was a last resort. "It will happen only if there are no alternatives," she said. "If it really happens, it will prove to be a debacle for the chief executive."
Tai says it will go ahead if there is no acceptable plan for the 2017 chief executive vote. No plan for public consultation on the reform - to set rules for the 2016 Legco election and universal suffrage for the chief executive poll in 2017 - has been announced.