Date
19 November 2017
Benny Tai (center) says if Beijing takes a hard-line stance on electoral reform, more people will support the civil disobedience movement. Photo: HKEJ
Benny Tai (center) says if Beijing takes a hard-line stance on electoral reform, more people will support the civil disobedience movement. Photo: HKEJ

Occupy Central eyes civil disobedience in September

Occupy Central founder Benny Tai said his group could launch its civil disobedience campaign in September if Beijing adopts a very conservative stance on political reform, Apple Daily reported on Friday.

Tai said if the National People’s Congress requires prospective candidates to the 2017 chief executive election to secure over half of the nominations from the election committee to be able to run, and if there is a limit to the number of candidates, it would mean there is little room for any negotiation and the Occupy Central campaign will inevitably have to take place.

It would be stupid, in both political and election terms, for the NPC to require a person to secure over half of the election committee members’ support in order to enter the race, Tai said, adding that such a stance will only prompt more people to support the civil disobedience movement.

He said radical actions such as occupying the Central business district would send the right message to President Xi Jinping that there is widespread unrest among Hong Kong people and the central government needs to reconsider its decision.

Tai stressed that his group will not rush the campaign, and it should take weeks of preparations and planning. He estimated there will be more than 10,000 taking part on the first night of Occupy Central, a number that he believes is beyond the control of the police.

He also did not rule out subsequent activities after Occupy Central, such as strikes, but said any violence will not be considered.

Tai admitted that in the end, the pan-democrats’ only option is to vote against the government proposal, but the consequences of that could be costly.

The Legislative Council could be paralyzed by filibustering from 2015 and 2016, he added.

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