2014年12月7日 星期日

OCCUPY CENTRAL - DAY 71 (07-12-2014)

Occupy Central

Occupy Central

Occupy Central is a civil disobedience movement which began in Hong Kong on September 28, 2014. It calls on thousands of protesters to block roads and paralyse Hong Kong's financial district if the Beijing and Hong Kong governments do not agree to implement universal suffrage for the chief executive election in 2017 and the Legislative Council elections in 2020 according to "international standards." The movement was initiated by Benny Tai Yiu-ting (戴耀), an associate professor of law at the University of Hong Kong, in January 2013.

Umbrella Movement

The Umbrella Movement (Chinese: 雨傘運動; pinyin: yǔsǎn yùndòng[1]) is a loose political movement that was created spontaneously during the Hong Kong protests of 2014.[2] Its name derives from the recognition of the umbrella as a symbol of defiance and resistance against the Hong Kong government, and the united grass-roots objection to the decision of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress (NPCSC) of 31 August.

The movement consists of individuals numbering in the tens of thousands who participated in the protests that began on 28 September 2014, although Scholarism, the Hong Kong Federation of Students, Occupy Central with Love and Peace,  groups are principally driving the demands for the rescission of the NPCSC decision.

OCCUPY CENTRAL - DAY 71: Full coverage of the day’s events

HK$10 million donated to support officers policing Hong Kong's Occupy protests

Internal as well as public support for officers dealing with Occupy protests expressed in cash, with panel to decide how to spend it
PUBLISHED : Sunday, 07 December, 2014, 2:20am

An outpouring of support for the police - driven by their front-line and often controversial role in the Occupy Central protests - has seen close to HK$10 million donated to support officers in the past month.
Officially, the force remains tight-lipped about the amount raised both internally and externally. But according to informed sources, cash donated by serving officers since a special fund was set up in October, added to the amount raised through a public fundraising drive that ends today, brings the total amount donated close to eight figures.
The fund was set up by two unions to support officers whose livelihoods were affected by the Occupy Central protests.
However, it is unclear how the cash will be spent, as relatively few officers have suffered directly as a result of the protests.
There have been suggestions the funds could be used to help the seven officers who have been arrested for allegedly beating Civic Party activist Ken Tsang Kin-chiu in October.
According to one police source, "several million" was donated by serving officers in a special internal fundraising effort that ended on November 20. A total of HK$1 million alone was donated by officers from the criminal investigation department, the source said.
A further HK$4 million to HK$5 million was raised from the public through a separate fundraiser that ends today, said another source from the Junior Police Officers Association.
"So far, we have received no inquiries or requests for help from anyone," said the source, adding that officers of all ranks were eligible to make donations or request aid. A six-member committee - half from the Junior Police Officers Association and the rest from the Police Inspectors' Association - would assess the needs of those who applied before allocating funds, the source said. "The fund will be used mainly for providing financial assistance to the injured or suspended officers and their families," the source said.
But another source said the fund might be extended to other purposes.
Officers may receive as little as half of their salaries when suspended.
"We've made it clear from the outset that the fund will not be used to subsidise the legal fees of any officer involved in court cases," the second source said.
Seven police officers, including two inspectors, were caught on video allegedly beating Civic Party member Tsang in a back alley during an Occupy protest.
The seven, dubbed "devil cops" by protesters, were suspended and arrested late last month.
A designated bank account had been set up for the internal fundraising, the sources said, while donations from the public would be transferred to the force's Police Welfare Fund.

Protesters must abandon fantasy of a 'Hong Kong race' free from the mainland

Regina Ip says the Occupy protesters who are in effect demanding self-rule - rather than democracy - have been misled by the years of colonial rule into rejecting their Chinese family
PUBLISHED : Sunday, 07 December, 2014, 7:00am

Occupy is an attempt to redefine "one country, two systems" and, by implication, Hong Kong's relationship with the mainland. Photo: AFP

For months, warnings against Occupy Central sounded by Beijing officials were dismissed as "crying wolf" in some quarters. Protesters had likewise sent many warnings of a "final showdown", but few were able to predict the precise shape that the face-off would eventually take.
The violent clashes between demonstrators and the police last Monday, more than two months after Occupy began, finally put paid to any semblance of "love and peace" and prompted the three chief instigators of Occupy to turn themselves in to the authorities. As students vow to fight on, it will be a while before Occupy can be brought to a close.
As the endgame draws near, debates are under way on what caused Occupy to erupt in such a ferocious manner, causing damage to the economy, cleavages in family and society and a body blow to Hong Kong's reputation as a safe and law-abiding city.
A multitude of factors have been put forward as underlying causes. Among former senior officials, a view has emerged that Occupy was inevitable.
It was inevitable because the protest was not really about democracy. Large numbers were attracted, especially at the start of the protest, by the democracy mantra. But right from the start, the quest for self-rule was evident from slogans - such as "self-determination" - writ large on the backdrop of the stage when students kicked off their sit-in.
In the past year, in several issues of Undergrad, the official publication of the University of Hong Kong students' union, contributors have advocated "self-determination" by "the Hong Kong race".
Occupy is an attempt to redefine "one country, two systems" and, by implication, Hong Kong's relationship with China. By rejecting the decision of the National People's Congress Standing Committee of August 31, which ensures Beijing's say on the outcome of the chief executive election in 2017 via the nominating committee, the Occupy demonstrators are effectively saying no to China's sovereignty over Hong Kong.
Since 1997, Beijing has been nothing but extraordinarily helpful to Hong Kong whenever the latter's economy is in trouble, and extraordinarily tolerant in allowing protests unimaginable on the mainland to thrive in Hong Kong. For a country of 1.3 billion people, which has never known universal suffrage in its 5,000 years of history, it is taking huge risks and a plunge into the unknown by promising Hong Kong ultimate election of the chief executive by universal suffrage. In 2007, it even went further in spelling out a timetable for universal suffrage to happen.
Under the "one country, two systems" arrangement, Hong Kong is also extraordinarily privileged in not having to pay tax to the central authorities or the costs of defence of the territory. (In the colonial era, Hong Kong paid as much as 70 per cent).
Why this rage against the motherland which has done nothing but tried its best to welcome back an "abducted" child with open arms?
Occupy was inevitable because Hong Kong had been a British colony for more than 150 years. Its population includes many who fled to this southern outpost to escape the turmoil that ravaged China during the death throes of the Qing empire and the chaos of the Republican era. It also includes many who fled here for fear of communism. Under British rule, Hong Kong people enjoyed unprecedented rights and freedom, the rule of law and a much higher standard of living. It was ruled as though it was part of the West. While many Chinese families remained steeped in traditional values, Western ideas and institutions exerted indelible influence.
In the last two decades of British rule, the sharp contrast with the much more conservative and regimented Chinese culture and systems was accentuated by the mad dash to usher in democracy and new legislation to strengthen the protection of rights and freedoms. The local officials set to lead the new administration were hardwired to "benchmark" the performance of Hong Kong under China against Western standards, and to defend its system against erosion by authoritarian China. The stage was set for "one country" to be viewed as a threat to "two systems".
The paranoia was aggravated by the tragedy of June 4, 1989, images of which were seared into the memory of Hong Kong people. Since then, annual rituals in remembrance of the lost souls have not helped engender forgiveness or a broader understanding of the context in which the tragic events occurred.
Perhaps the greatest blow to some Hong Kong people's perception of the motherland is the reversal of economic fortune and roles which have followed the economic ascendency of China. Now heavily dependent economically on mainland China, the sense of injured pride has led many to view China as a threat, and fantasise that Hong Kong would be better off as a free-standing "Hong Kong race".
Yet the reality is "Hong Kong race" has no place in the world and Hong Kong's destiny is intertwined with that of China. The sooner our leaders can help the young and the restless come to terms with that, the better. Hong Kong people must muster enough courage and wisdom to find a new place of pride in the family of 1.3 billion.
Regina Ip Lau Suk-yee is a legislator and chair of the New People's Party

CY Leung says authorities ready for 'furious resistance' ahead of Occupy clear-out

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 07 December, 2014, 1:12pm

Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying warned yesterday that "furious resistance" is expected from some protesters in the Admiralty Occupy camp when police help bailiffs execute a court order to clear part of the protest site.
He also rejected a student leader's call to restart the political reform process, saying it would effectively mean overturning Beijing's controversial framework for the 2017 election. But Joshua Wong Chi-fung, convenor of the student group Scholarism, insisted such a move would not violate the Basic Law.
A police source said the exact date for executing the injunction order and whether officers would clear areas not covered by the order are to be decided tomorrow in a joint meeting with the plaintiff and bailiffs, though it could take place as early as Wednesday.
Police recently estimated that the number of protesters remaining in Admiralty between 8am and 9am was just over 100. The source said 1,000 to 2,000 officers would be deployed to clear the site during the bailiffs' working hours between 9am and 5pm.
Speaking to reporters during a visit to Qianhai in Shenzhen, Leung said that while he would not give a specific date for when police would clear the site, he expected there could be radical resistance from protesters.
"I think we should be prepared, both psychologically and operationally, that towards the end of the illegal occupation there will be fewer people taking part and they tend to be more radical. This seems to be the pattern in illegal social movements in other countries," Leung said. "Maybe during the clearance or when police help bailiffs to execute the order, there would be some rather furious resistance."
Leung also rejected a request by students to relaunch the constitutional reform process.
"If we restart political reform, it would mean rejecting the work we have done so far, including the decision of the National People's Congress Standing Committee," Leung said.
But Wong said restarting political reform is within the power of the Hong Kong government. "When we propose restarting the five-step process, it does not violate the Basic Law, it does not violate the NPCSC's decision or other laws," he said.
The Federation of Students said if the government insisted on starting the second round of consultation on reform, which officials said would be launched soon after Occupy ends, their struggle would not stop.
Secretary for Justice Rimsky Yuen Kwok-keung also called on protesters to leave as soon as possible to minimise trouble.
Meanwhile, Scholarism members, Gloria Cheng Yik-lam and Eddie Ng Man-hin, were still fasting yesterday to demand dialogue on political reform. Both were in a stable condition.
A group of people announced last night they planned to start a relay hunger strike along with the two students. A spokesman said 100 people had already said they would join the relay, with each person fasting in rotation every 28 hours.

Protesters seek legal advice over 'abuse' while detained

PUBLISHED : Monday, 08 December, 2014, 12:56am

A group of 30 protesters arrested over the Occupy movement said yesterday they were seeking legal advice over what they allege were improper detention procedures and inhuman treatment at the hands of police.
It comes as the leaders of Hong Kong Shield, a group of more than 50 local cultural figures including Canto-pop singer Denise Ho Wan-see, are set to meet with the police watchdog to express their concerns over allegations of excessive force in handling the protests.
Some protesters, many of them students, sustained wounds after police used batons against their attempt to storm government headquarters last week, said a spokesman for the group, Timothy Lee Ho-yin.
The clashes took place on November 30 and early on December 1 on Lung Wo Road, where officers used batons, pepper spray and a powerful water jet to disperse protesters.
"Many of the protesters were covered in blood after they were arrested," Lee said. "But the police refused to send some of them to hospital for treatment until three hours later."
Some were made to wait hours before gaining permission to go to the washroom, and were given rubbish bags to keep themselves warm at North Point police station, Lee said yesterday.
Repeated requests from those arrested to turn off a large fan in the detention centre where they were held were refused. Lee said "the police officers told them there was no switch to turn the fan off". A few of those arrested were detained for over 24 hours, he said.
Lee believed the treatment was in breach of Article 28 of the Basic Law, and violated the International Bill of Human Rights.
He said 30 of those arrested were seeking legal advice on whether to take action over their treatment.
Hong Kong Shield spokesman Adrian Chow said his group would be meeting with the Independent Police Complaints Council today.
Albert Li Sau-Sang, chairman of the Hong Kong Confederation of Tertiary Institutes Staff Unions, condemned what he called excessive force.
"There is no need to use batons to beat the students on the head again and again," he said.
"It has damaged the professional and civilised image of the Hong Kong police force. As a teacher, we need to say thank you to these students, who are the conscience of society and the future of Hong Kong."
Hundreds of parents attended a march, organised by the Umbrella Parents concern group, to police headquarters in Wan Chai yesterday to protest against the police tactics.
A letter of complaint addressed to police chief Andy Tsang Wai-hung was handed to officers outside the building. Organisers estimated 2,000 people attended the march.

Lawmaker Fernando Cheung warns that protesters might meet violence with violence

Lawmaker Fernando Cheung worries that the violence police are meting out is going to be returned and will escalate beyond control
PUBLISHED : Monday, 08 December, 2014, 2:48am

Illustration: Henry Wong

Lawmaker Dr Fernando Cheung Chiu-hung has lately been at the forefront of the Occupy Central movement, where he thinks keeping the peace is getting tougher, with the "oppressed considering using violence against violence".
A social work professor, Cheung, 57, often leads the fight for the underprivileged and marginalised. Now he is worried that protest violence will escalate to become deadly, and he urged the government to open dialogue.
Watch: Meet Hong Kong legislator Fernando Cheung
"The vast majority of violence occurring so far was inflicted upon protesters by the police and pro-establishment protesters. But I'm feeling - I'm sensing - that this is going to change," Cheung said.
"I sense that ... peaceful protection like wearing shields is not going to help [protesters] against police brutality. And they are thinking about using offensive means to protect themselves. I can sense that we are stepping into a very dangerous zone, where the oppressed are considering using violence against violence," he said.
"I'm certainly very worried. I want to stop it, but I have no confidence in that."
When some protesters broke windows at the Legislative Council in November in the middle of the night, Cheung was one of the few who rushed to the scene and tried to call people off.
He said it was time to move the battle back to the community, and he called for a retreat from occupied sites as the stakes get higher.
"The only party that can stop the violence right now is the government. [Chief Executive] C.Y. Leung has to step out of his office, come out and open dialogue with the protesters immediately. Otherwise, I'm not sure where this campaign is going to lead to," Cheung warned.
He said the lack of upward mobility was a frustration for the younger generation, but was not the sole reason people were out on the streets. He said there was also a yearning for a society that "plays fair".
Cheung said the government was not doing its part for Hongkongers, choosing to commit resources to big infrastructure projects that did little for the general public.
He also said the Legislative Council needed to take responsibility for its failure to represent the people.
"I think the assessment of the failure of the whole Legislative process - or the Legislative Council itself - is correct," he said. "We are constantly hijacked by people who really don't represent the Hong Kong people, because of the functional constituencies and the distorted election system, which is why people are out on the streets."
He gave the pan-democrats little credit for their role. "Throughout the campaign, we've been rather irrelevant," he said, adding that they needed to do a better job of negotiating with the government.
But Cheung expressed hope that people would understand that lawmakers were worried about hijacking what was originally a student-led movement, causing a reluctance to "come out to lead".
Still, Cheung said the government bore ultimate responsibility for the protests. He added that with Hong Kong's level of wealth, there should not be tolerance for a high rate of poverty and inequality.
Those injustices are what Cheung lobbies against. He said it was his passion for social work that made him run for the position of legislator for the first time in 2004.
Cheung's involvement in social work started in secondary school, when he regularly volunteered for social services. His father was a headmaster and his mother was a nurse, which also instilled in him early on the importance of public services.
But Cheung said he found himself very isolated in his first four years as a lawmaker in the social-work constituency, unable to get sector consensus.
He failed in his next attempt to run as an independent lawmaker, but made his comeback in the 2012 election.
Now he focuses on broader social issues like poverty and the ageing population, especially on the lack of residential care services for the elderly and disabled.
"I'd rather put my energy into looking at the whole problem of injustice at the societal level," he said. "Income disparity, the problem of poverty, the problem of a lot of vulnerable groups that are not being served appropriately, including the disabled, the elderly and minorities and so forth."
And because he has a 23-year-old daughter with a severe intellectual disability, Cheung also became one of the few champions for the disabled community.
But he said it was increasingly hard to lobby the government over social policies. The government had little will to budge on such issues, he said, which was why he saw the fight for democracy as so important.
"We should not have a system that favours only the rich and powerful."

Fernando Cheung
1957: born in Macau
1980: graduated from Baptist University (then named Baptist College) in social work and obtained a licence to work as a social worker
1991: graduated from the University of California Berkeley with a PhD in social work
1996: became a lecturer at the Polytechnic University
2004: served first term as a functional constituency lawmaker, but lost in the direct elections in 2008
2012: re-elected as a Labour Party lawmaker

PUBLISHED : Monday, 08 December, 2014, 6:17am
UPDATED : Monday, 08 December, 2014, 6:17am

Retribution on Mong Kok store shows up incivility of Occupy's civil disobedience

Alice Wu says it is clear that some protesters are in fact engaging in 'uncivil' disobedience, as one Mong Kok store found out

There's a fine line between activism and hooliganism. Trying to blur that line would be a real affront to justice. Photo: AP

With some protest flashpoints now taking place outside the main rally sites, the Occupy movement has adopted a wholly alien take on civil disobedience. The trio who founded the movement may have turned themselves in to the police, but last week's defining moment has to be the "Mong Kok shopping escapade".
It all began when a salesperson in one Mong Kok shop allegedly told protesters they were the reason the shop was losing business. As retribution, a group of "Occupy shoppers" last week stopped the store from closing and "occupied" it. Supposedly exercising their right as consumers, they ransacked the store, unfolded articles of clothing, and removed clothes displayed on mannequins before buying something.
While they didn't loot or damage property, what they did was sinister. This was no "creative" interpretation of consumer rights. It was an act of revenge on someone simply for having a different opinion.
Civil disobedience isn't about revenge or intimidation. More disturbing is how such a protest is a display of the growing gulf that separates us from the democratic values we've supposedly been fighting for. Freedom of speech that is exercised only when one agrees with what's being said is no freedom at all. And throughout the past three months, this is just the sort of disturbing "freedom" we've seen played out openly on our streets.
It's also the type of abuse of rights that we have condoned for years among our rowdy lawmakers. There's something wrong with narcissism so inflated that one feels perfectly entitled to exercise one's rights at the expense of other people's.
It's not only the bullying; it's also the schadenfreude blatantly glorified in the name of activism. For speaking his mind, the salesperson and his colleagues had to be punished with disorder and by being forced to spend time putting back all the displaced merchandise. That was why the "Occupy shoppers" ransacked the place: so they could feel gratified that they had created a need for someone else to exert themselves. It was a twisted way of exercising power over another, and a big slap in the face of equality.
It's incivility, not civil obedience. Gandhi once lamented his unsuccessful attempt to stage mass civil disobedience in Kheda in 1919 because of protesters' lack of civility. He called their resort to incivility "a drop of arsenic in milk". That is surely what the Occupy founders must be contemplating now. Surrendering to the police does very little - if anything - to change the poison-laced milk.
How activism degenerated to this level of baseness is something we, as a community, must reflect on. No amount of tunnel vision and disaster fatigue can justify our turning a blind eye to the sort of toxic politics that have been brought to the fore.
Writer, journalist and former activist Benjamin Pimentel wrote in September that there is "a fine line between activism and hooliganism". Trying to blur that line would be nothing short of despicable, and a real affront to justice.
Alice Wu is a political consultant and a former associate director of the Asia Pacific Media Network at UCLA

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