17 February 2019
The Occupy Central movement initiated by Benny Tai (second from right) sends the wrong message to the world about Hong Kong, Zeman says. Photo: HKEJ
The Occupy Central movement initiated by Benny Tai (second from right) sends the wrong message to the world about Hong Kong, Zeman says. Photo: HKEJ

Occupy Central is wrong means for HK ends, Zeman says

Occupy Central will send the wrong message to the world and 2017 is not the right time for public nomination for the city’s chief executive, according to Hong Kong businessman Allan Zeman.

The blockade in Central will tell the world that Hong Kong does not have the intelligence to engage in dialogue with others and settle problems peacefully, Zeman said.

“I understand 2017 is a very important time for Hong Kong… but I think that the way to go about it is through dialogue and negotiations in a peaceful manner,” he said.

“It attracts many kinds of people, and will result in many different problems… That’s really what worries me.”

Occupy Central is a civil disobedience protest that aims to mobilize about 10,000 people to block the business center in Central in July. The movement was initiated last year by Benny Tai Yiu-ting, an associate professor of law at the University of Hong Kong.

“We’re going from no universal suffrage to universal suffrage. So why not take the system that we’ve grown up with and expand it a little bit?” Zeman said.

Zeman said he is against civil nomination, which allows members of the public to put forward candidates for the top job, a key plank of the Occupy Central platform.

He said a better idea is to first make the nominating committee more representative by expanding it from its present 1,200 members, and let the public vote on candidates nominated by the committee.

“I believe that 2017 is the first step… I think we should increase the nominating committee to 1,600,” he said.

The committee should continue to include the members from the four sectors and could encompass fully elected Legco members and district councilors who have been voted by universal suffrage, he said.

“Once everybody votes, then it doesn’t matter whether there is civil nomination… Having civil nomination doesn’t necessarily mean that we’ll have the best guy,” he said.

He said that Hong Kong may go for civil nomination after 2017 when people become more used to the voting process.

“We need stability, and we can’t move too quickly. Universal suffrage is already a big move,” he said.

Zeman also believed there should be three or four candidates running for chief executive, and the electoral mechanism should be designed to let pan-democrats take part in the race.

If the pan-democrats are blocked out by the nominating committee, the winning candidate will lack credibility and Hong Kong will have same problem as we have now, he said.

“We need to be pragmatic. We need to understand we are part of China. We also need the trust of China,” he said.

Main story: Allan Zeman: On thinking local and being global

– Contact the writer at [email protected]


EJ Insight reporter

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