On Jan 16, 2013, Benny Tai, law professor at the University of Hong Kong, put forward a proposal of a nonviolent direct action campaign to occupy Central, the financial district of Hong Kong, as a means to generate pressure on the Beijing and Hong Kong governments to introduce fair and open elections in Hong Kong. Tai’s proposal received popular support after two local newspapers interviewed him. Quickly finding allies who would like to help with starting a new campaign pushing for political reforms that conform to international laws that Hong Kong has signed on, Tai, together with Professor Chan Kin-man and Reverend Chu Yiu-ming, announced the “Occupy Central with Love and Peace (OCLP)” campaign on March 28, 2013.
No other political initiative in Hong Kong has received such widespread support. Over 18 months of campaigning, OCLP has gained citywide support:
- 800,000 voted in OCLP referendum in June 20-29 despite outrageous repression from the governments including a propaganda campaign and large-scaled cyber attacks
- OCLP has united all pro-democracy groups and political parties. On Aug 31, when NPC handed down decision that flat out denied Hong Kong people’s democratic rights, OCLP joined hands with 5 key pro-democracy groups (Alliance for True Democracy, Civil Human Rights Front, HK Federation of Students, Scholarism and the Democratic Party) and pro-democracy leaders in a demonstration, in which they pledged an era of peaceful resistance.
- It consistently receives 25% approval rate (but take it as a grain of salt because 1) it doesn’t ask the question of whether people are sympathetic of OCLP. The response would be very different; 2) OCLP’s message has not been properly conveyed to the public because of Hong Kong government’s and mouthpieces’ propaganda and smearing against OCLP; remember, Hong Kong’s press freedom has miserably fallen from 21 in 2002 to 67 in 2014, and there is only one pro-democracy paper left, all other Chinese language newspapers are pro-Beijing)
On Aug 31, 2014, the Beijing government denied Hong Kong people’s political rights to elect in open and fair elections, breaching the international agreement it signed on in 1984. OCLP and allies in the pro-democracy camp pledged an era of civil disobedience in defiance of Beijing’s hardline decision over Hong Kong’s political future. More as it develops – please check our daily digest and Twitter for updates.
A global campaign in support of Hong Kong’s democracy movement and struggle against China’s repression is undergoing. This is not only the struggle of Hong Kong people, but also that of Taiwanese and other oppressed peoples in China and across the world. Please stand with us in solidarity. Join us in the fight.
For more background information on OCLP, we recommend this article by Bryan Chan in International Political Forum.