Peter Woo, chairman of Wharf (Holdings) Ltd. (00004.HK), is the latest voice among Hong Kong’s business elite to denounce Occupy Central, saying the “illegal movement” is making an unwise move by resorting to civil disobedience to push their idea of universal suffrage.
Speaking after the company’s annual general meeting on Monday, Woo said the Basic Law is clear that the chief executive is chosen “by negotiation first, and then election”. The civil nomination proposed by the pan-democrats is one-sided, the Hong Kong Economic Journal reported Tuesday.
Woo, a member of the Standing Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, also stressed that the Sino-British Joint Declaration only says Hong Kong enjoys a high degree of autonomy — not full autonomy. He said it would be unwise to use illegal means to change the situation.
Woo called on Hong Kong’s youth to treasure their own future, warning that joining the civil disobedience movement could sacrifice their future over the next 30 years.
He also urged the city to accept the electoral proposal put forward by the government, as Hong Kong people can get greater political power at “zero cost” and the central government may not accept any new proposal five years later.
Hong Kong people “should better watch themselves” as 16 years have already passed since the Basic Law, which ensures there will be no changes in the city’s capitalist system and lifestyle for 50 years, was promulgated, Woo said, adding that only 34 years are left.
The businessman also echoed the words of Zhou Nan, a former director of Xinhua’s Hong Kong branch who said the People’s Liberation Army would intervene if riots broke out in the city.
Reacting to Woo’s remarks, Chan Kin-man, one of the organizers of Occupy Central, said the Basic Law never mentioned negotiation as a means to choose the chief executive. He said Woo had distorted the meaning of the Sino-British Joint Declaration and annexed this distorted meaning to the Basic Law.
Before Woo, business tycoons Li Ka-shing, Lee Shau-kee, Henry Cheng Kar-shun, Ronnie Chan Chi-chung and Lui Che-woo also lashed out at the Occupy Central protest set to be held on July 1.
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