Chan Kin-Man: Civil disobedience is not our problem. Our problem is civil obedience.

Speech at 2 August 2014 demonstration outside of Wanchai Police Headquarters, Hong Kong
Original published on OCLP Facebook Page on 5 August 2014: Read original

The participants in today’s rally at Police Headquarters are paying tribute to our friends of the July 2 sit-in. We thank them for their fight for democracy, their self-sacrifice in bringing hope to Hong Kong, and for their demonstration of nonviolent, peaceful civil disobedience.

Many see civil disobedience as a form of resistance, an interference or even hindrance to law and order. But in fact, the biggest strength of civil disobedience is self-sacrifice. This spirit only comes from tactics of peace and nonviolence, and a willingness to bear legal responsibility.
While the Anti-Occupy movement is at its height, the events of July 2 clearly demonstrated an act of peaceful, nonviolent civil disobedience. The Anti-Occupy movement is deliberately misrepresentative, as it equates peace with violence, and distorts screening candidates as “universal suffrage”. In fact, Occupy Central with Love and Peace is not a threat or tactic of coercion, but a method of last resort for the weak to protect themselves. We need to clearly define the boundaries between what is true and false: screening candidates is not genuine universal suffrage.
People reached the point of civil disobedience because the government refused to listen. How did the government respond to hundreds of thousands of participants in the July 1 march? They arrested five of the demonstration organizers. As demonstrators requested a license for Hong Kong Television, the government turned a deaf ear. As social action continues to grow, this reflects an increasingly inaccessible and closed government.
As we face this indifferent and callous government, Hong Kong does not have too much civil disobedience, but rather too much resignation! The powers of dictatorship are far-reaching because too many people remain silent or cooperate out of benefit and fear.
Thank you to the 511 friends from the July 2 sit-in. You showed us that we can only count on conscience and courage to face this absurd situation. And on that night, you demonstrated conscience and courage!
Chan Kin-Man
“Occupy Central with Love and Peace” Convener