25 August 2019
(From left) Occupy Central convenors Chan Kin-man, Benny Chan and Chu Yiu-ming are preparing for the civil disobedience campaign. Photo: HKEJ
(From left) Occupy Central convenors Chan Kin-man, Benny Chan and Chu Yiu-ming are preparing for the civil disobedience campaign. Photo: HKEJ

Occupy Central convenors to shave heads in protest

The three convenors of the Occupy Central movement will shave their heads if Beijing decides on a political reform framework that does not conform with the standards of universal suffrage.

Benny Tai, Chan Kin-man and Chu Yiu-ming have warned of a civil disobedience movement if the central government insists that a nominating committee will choose who can run for chief executive in the 2017 election, according to an Apple Daily report on Thursday.

According to a draft reportedly submitted by Li Fei, deputy secretary-general of the National People’s Congress (NPC) Standing Committee and chairman of the Basic Law Committee, those seeking to run in the chief executive election must secure the approval of half of the 1,200-nominating committee, which will consist of an equal number of representatives from the business, professional, social and political sectors. 

The number of candidates will be limited to two or three, according to some media reports.

This is even worse than the previous system where pan-democrats have one-eight of a chance to become a candidate, Apple Daily said.

If these reports are true, “there will be no room for discussion and everything will have wait after Occupy Central,” Tai was quoted as saying. “This would be the desperate truth for the Hong Kong people.”

The NPC can still withdraw the decision after it has been made, and if they don’t withdraw it, the proposal will not pass in the Legislative Council and the opposition will grow, he said.

“It will also be unavoidable for us [the three convenors] to shave our heads,” Tai added.

Legislator Albert Ho of the Democratic Party said such a high entry barrier would show that Beijing does not want Hong Kong to have true universal suffrage, the newspaper said.

The NPC will vote on the proposal on Sunday afternoon.

Officials of the Occupy Central, Alliance for True Democracy, Democratic Party, Scholarism, Hong Kong Federation of Students and Civil Human Rights Front held a meeting on Wednesday night.

The six groups will assemble outside the chief executive office at 7 p.m. on Sunday to voice out their response to the NPC decision.

“That would be the start of Occupy Central, but not a preview of it,” Tai said.

The civil disobedience campaign is likely to start early next month. Protest actions will be held every week with the three convenors shaving their heads and participants holding black banners, and will culminate in the occupation of the central business district by end-September, the report said.

Lester Shum, deputy secretary general of the Federation of Students, said his group will organize the boycott of classes starting next month at the earliest.

Scholarism spokesman Max Lau said they would consider asking secondary school students to skip classes and hold protest actions during Li Fei’s visit.

To prepare for the Occupy Central campaign, police will be deployed in Central and Western District starting on Aug. 31, Ming Pao Daily said.

Some police officers may have to cancel their days off if the civil disobedience campaign takes place. They will also guard the government headquarters and other areas where the protests are likely to be held.

The three Occupy Central convenors said they will announce details of their protest actions in such a way that they will avoid being arrested. They have also trained supporters on what to do in case they are arrested, the report said.

Related stories:

Occupy Central likely to start on September 1

Police conduct drills against Occupy Central

HK govt braces for Occupy Central blockade 

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