Occupy Central's Tai says 'banquet' will begin on National Day

September 23, 2014 14:03
Occupy Central's Benny Tai (inset) has indicated that the group's planned sit-in in Hong Kong's financial district will begin on October 1. Photo: HKEJ

Benny Tai Yiu-ting, a co-founder of Hong Kong's Occupy Central movement, has announced that he will hold a "banquet" on Oct. 1, China's National Day, signaling the start of a civil disobedience campaign to press for political reforms in the city.

Over the last few weeks, Tai has used "banquet" as a substitute for a planned sit-in by the Occupy Central group in the Central financial district, but did not outline an exact day. But now, in a Facebook post, the pro-democracy activist has suggested that the action could begin on Oct. 1.

Paraphrasing the Bible's Ecclesiastes 3:1, Tai wrote: "A time to hold a banquet and a time to attend it. A time to have civil disobedience and a time to occupy Central."

"When others are celebrating the big day of the country, we will hold a democratic banquet in Central. We welcome all people who support democracy and are willing to contribute to the movement. If you only want to witness the ceremony, we also welcome you," Tai said.

Although the movement will entail significant costs and the effects won't be seen immediately, the action is worth pursuing, he wrote, adding that the campaign will create social impact and could lead to a change in the society.

Since the 1997 handover, Hong Kong people have not seen the implementation of "Hong Kong People ruling Hong Kong", but instead been suffering from the poor performance of the people who are appointed by Beijing, Tai said.

"The Communist Party is not going to implement genuine universal suffrage as early as possible but will postpone it again and again," Tai said. "As more and more Hong Kong people feel that the Party is lacking sincerity to meet its promise of implementing universal suffrage, protests happen frequently and win support from the public."

Tai said moderate democrats are also disappointed by Beijing's hardline stance.

"Occupy Central is not our last step but is a curtain raiser of a new democratic movement," Tai said. The scale of the first Occupy Central sit-in will determine the next step of Hong Kong's democratic movement, he said.  

[Original link] (Chinese only)

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Chief reporter at EJ Insight