24 August 2019
Zhang Junsheng (right), former No. 2 at Xinhua's Hong Kong branch, doesn't think much of Occupy protests. Photo: HKEJ
Zhang Junsheng (right), former No. 2 at Xinhua's Hong Kong branch, doesn't think much of Occupy protests. Photo: HKEJ

Occupy protests no ‘color revolution’: ex-Xinhua official

A former senior representative of Beijing said the Occupy protests in Hong Kong fall short of a “color revolution.”

Zhang Junsheng, deputy director of Xinhua News Agency from 1987 to 1998, said only large-scale movements like those that took place in Egypt and Ukraine qualify as color revolutions.

He told members of the Hong Kong Association of Media Veterans at a lunch on Wednesday that the energy level of the street occupation in Hong Kong is much lower, and there is no way it could achieve that status, Ming Pao Daily reported Thursday.

Xinhua’s Hong Kong branch was the predecessor of the central government’s liaison office in Hong Kong.

Zhang’s remarks contradicted those made by Zhang Rongshun, vice-chairman of the legislative affairs commission of the National People’s Congress Standing Committee, who said during a recent visit to Shenzhen that Beijing has classified the Occupy movement as a color revolution.

Zhang Junsheng said the street occupation can at best be said to have disrupted the normal life of people in Hong Kong, which Beijing had foreseen.

Now chairman of Zhejiang University’s development committee, he urged the Hong Kong government to step up its work with the younger generation, as the street movement reflects insufficient education.

Zhang said young people are not necessarily against the government but do not understand the background and considerations behind the Basic Law at the time it was drafted.

It is impossible to realize genuine universal suffrage overnight, he said.

Zhang said it was not a good idea for the occupiers to send student representatives to Beijing to put forward their demands.

He said the effort would probably be in vain, since no concrete conclusions have so far been reached between the Occupy camp and the Hong Kong government.

Zhang praised Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying’s coolness and approach in dealing with the protests and said the ball is now in the court of the occupiers, because the government would not take a further step back.

Asked about the call by Chris Patten, Hong Kong’s last British governor, for Britain to push for genuine democracy in the city, Zhang said he hoped Patten would stop making comments on Hong Kong affairs, as he had left rather a mess in the former colony.

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