Moderate academics are urging pro-democracy demonstrators to end their protest to avoid a crackdown by the authorities, public broadcaster RTHK reported Monday.
However, Executive Councilor Regina Ip, Hong Kong’s former security chief, said there will be no such thing.
The academics made the appeal as a multi-sectoral group released a statement calling for immediate talks between student activists and government representatives to defuse the crisis.
The statement was signed by 24 people including Joseph Wong, former chief of the Civil Service Bureau.
Also among the signatories were Joseph Ha, auxiliary bishop of Hong Kong; Chan King-san, former president of Hong Kong Bar Association; Choi Yuen-wan, general secretary of Breakthrough Organisation; Eva Chan, lecturer of journalism of the City University of Hong Kong; Joseph Chan, professor of politics and public administration of the University of Hong Kong; and To Yiu-ming, associate professor of communication of Hong Kong Baptist University.
The group urged both sides to hold immediate talks and protesters to remain vigilant against any provocation.
“We should adhere to the original intent of the movement and avoid deviating from its peaceful and non-violent course,” the statement said.
It said the mass action is a democratic movement by students, not a revolution.
Hong Kong people have a clear demand for a democratic system and social development. They are not seeking to topple the government, the statement said.
Earlier, the Hong Kong Federation of Students said it had met with three government representatives to pave the way for future talks with Chief Secretary Carrie Lam.
However, the two sides failed to reach an agreement, media reports said.
Wong said pro-Beijing newspapers are following foreign media in describing the protest movement as an “Umbrella Revolution”, suggesting it is aimed at subverting the communist regime.
Beijing could use it as a pretext to send paramilitary police to end the protest, he said.
Ip said the Hong Kong democracy movement is unlikely to become a repeat of the 1989 Tiananmen protests which ended in a bloody crackdown.
Chinese leaders have enough wisdom and experience to handle large-scale protests, she said.
Beijing will let the Hong Kong government resolve the problem through dialogue.
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