Occupy Central
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Benny Tai Yiu-ting. Photo: SCMP

Occupy Central plan amounts to tyranny of minority

Lau Nai-keung says subversive Occupy Central plan should be shot down

At several Lunar New Year receptions I attended over the past two weeks, a popular topic of conversation was the Occupy Central campaign proposed by University of Hong Kong law professor Benny Tai Yiu-ting.

Unlike Occupy Wall Street - a "leaderless resistance movement" of the 99 per cent against the "greed and corruption of the one per cent", as it proclaims on its website - Occupy Central is more a campaign than a movement. It is not concerned with social and economic inequality, but with one-man-one-vote elections.

The inspiration for this copycat act is the Arab spring, and nonviolence is a core principle.

Occupy Central hopes to rally at least 10,000 avowed (literally, they have to make solemn vows) supporters of a plan to implement universal suffrage fully in the 2017 chief executive election. Anything short of this unrealistic demand, and protesters will march to occupy key areas of the city until the police can no longer handle the numbers. Then, both the Hong Kong and central governments will be forced to bow to their demands.

The plan seems so ingenious and risk-free that it quickly won the support of all the dissident lawmakers who make it a point to veto any government proposal not to their entire satisfaction.

The planned protest amounts to a tyranny of the minority who want to hijack the will of the majority to force their way. But, with the general support of local and international media, it will command a lot of sympathy overseas.

What about the poor majority in Hong Kong? Any poll at any time will invariably indicate that democracy is low on most people's agenda. They care more about social and economic issues than enjoying unrestricted political rights. And few would buy the idea that universal suffrage is the panacea for all problems.

On top of this, most people want stability and prosperity, and abhor Hong Kong being marginalised. That they are silent and unorganised does not mean they can be neglected and trampled on. Any responsible government would have to take the majority view into consideration and present a more gradual and pragmatic proposal for political reform.

It is likely that Hong Kong will have its own "colour revolution". We are now witnessing daily open discussions of a future "gang rape" and we are the intended victims. Are we supposed to remain silent and do nothing? We definitely should do our utmost to stop it.

Can the dissidents and their backers really expect the special administrative region and the central governments to turn a blind eye to such blatant subversion?

The fact is that our leaders cannot ignore it, even if they wanted to. This campaign, if it comes to pass, is going to hurt the 7 million citizens here, as well as the 1.3 billion Chinese on the mainland. No self-respecting and responsible government can afford to let it happen.

After all, according to the Basic Law, the central government has the final say regarding constitutional development in Hong Kong and will be held accountable for it. The big shots in Beijing are no weaklings to be pushed around like Leung Chun-ying.

Come the Occupy Central showdown, organised counter-measures from the SAR and central governments are to be expected.

The outcome of this battle is already written on the wall; there is simply no chance the dissident minority can win.

Knowing this, perhaps it is time for the dissidents to rethink their objectives and strategies.

What do they want to achieve? Democracy? Don't kid me. We all know what happened after the colour revolutions.

This article appeared in the South China Morning Post print edition as: Tyranny of the minority has no place in Hong Kong