27 March 2019
Hongkongers from all walks of life took part in the street occupation of their own accord and won't be impressed by the arrest of alleged instigators. Photo: Bloomberg
Hongkongers from all walks of life took part in the street occupation of their own accord and won't be impressed by the arrest of alleged instigators. Photo: Bloomberg

Arrests won’t suppress demand for true democracy

It seems that Beijing and the Hong Kong government would like to quickly settle the issue of electoral reform for the 2017 election for chief executive, so as to remove an obstacle and distraction to the government in its efforts to rule the city.

In an attempt to ensure no disruption of the second round of the public consultation on political reform, the government is reportedly planning to arrest dozens of activists suspected of organising the recent Occupy protests.

Police phoned some Occupy leaders Monday asking them to report to police on Saturday to assist in the investigation of the Occupy movement. The police said they reserved their right to arrest them.

Hong Kong’s police force, which used to be ranked among the top in the world, is clearly becoming a political tool, helping the government clear hurdles in the way of the consultation process.

But why are police still warning people they may be arrested for instigating the Occupy movement last year?

If police have sufficient evidence on dozens of pan-democratic politicians and activists, they should immediately arrest and charge them and bring their cases to court, so that justice can be done.

However, as Hongkongers know, the Occupy protests in Admiralty, Mong Kok and Causeway Bay were clearly not organised by any specific organisations or political parties.

Most of those who took part were Hongkongers sharing a desire for true democracy or wishing to express their unhappiness at the use of violence by police when they fired tear gas into a crowd of students and protesters.

It is clear the government would like to start the legal proceedings against the alleged organizers as soon as possible, as it would like to enjoy a quiet two months of consultation over political reform without reigniting the Occupy campaign.

But the fact is not just the protesters but the general public as well know the latest round of consultation will not do away with the unfair “Beijing nominate, Hong Kong people vote” electoral framework, which limits the right to nominate candidates to a small group of Beijing-friendly elites and business tycoons.

The government rejected the appeal from many Hongkongers for public nomination, but it is trying its best to convince the silent majority to support the electoral reform package with a suggestion that the barrier to nomination be lowered to allow more contenders into the first stage of the nominating process.

These would-be candidates would then still need to win the support of at least half of the 1,200 members of the nominating committee to be eligible to stand in the election for chief executive.

It seems that the pan-democrats in the Legislative Council will not support such a tight screening process.

Hongkongers won’t forget what they experienced in 2014: 100 days ago, hundreds of thousands took to the streets to voice their demand for true democracy and suffered an attack of 87 tear gas bombs from the police, but they insisted on staying on the streets for the next 79 days to fight for their demand.

And still the government continues to walk away from the people of Hong Kong, ignoring what they want.

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EJ Insight writer

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