The Central government could direct Hong Kong authorities to clear the Occupy protest sites by use of force once the Asia Pacific Economic Conference (APEC) meeting in Beijing ends, according to Ng Hong-mun, a former Hong Kong member of China’s National People’s Congress.
Radio Television Hong Kong cited Ng as saying that after the APEC summit concludes on Nov. 12, the central government could give the go-ahead for forcible action by Hong Kong police to end the street occupation by pro-democracy activists.
An Apple Daily commentary said Beijing would not want any embarrassing moment during the APEC meeting, which will officially open on Nov. 5.
Beijing asked the Hong Kong government not to give any new opportunity to foreign powers to comment on the city’s political issues before the APEC summit, which is expected to be attended by US President Barack Obama among other foreign leaders.
Pan-democrats worry that the government will use force to clear the Hong Kong protest sites after Obama leaves Beijing.
The Apple Daily article cited sources from mainland political circles as saying that some central government officials are still against the idea of using force on the demonstrators, arguing that such action would give foreign powers more firepower to criticize Beijing.
Meanwhile, a separate commentary in the Hong Kong Economic Times said pan-democrats understand that they will lose support if the campaign drags on.
It said the government is likely to clear the protest sites after a G20 meeting in Australia on Nov. 15 and 16. Timing is important to the Hong Kong government as citizens generally are against the use of force, it said.
However, a Sing Tao Daily article said fears that clearance action could come after the APEC meeting appear to be unwarranted. The APEC meeting will have no bearing on any government plan, it said.
In the meantime, a survey has shown that 52 percent of the Occupy participants said they can continue the sit-in even if there is no deadline, and that they would participate in other movements even if this one fails, Apple Daily reported.
The survey conducted at the main Admiralty protest site covered 300 participants, with 84 percent in the voting age. About 16.1 percent of the respondents said they would be willing to stay on for another half year.
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