Press Release by Occupy Central with Love & Peace (issued on 30.9.2014)

Consolidate results, continue the peaceful struggle

The courage, determination, peacefulness and orderliness shown by the spontaneous democratic occupy movement in Hong Kong in the past few days, have written a glorious page in the development of Hong Kong’s democracy. The Hong Kong people’s demand for Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying to step down and the National People’s Congress Standing Committee (NPCSC) to withdraw its framework for fake democracy is loud and clear. In order to consolidate the results we have achieved, the students and Occupy Central With Love and Peace (OCLP) urges all Hong Kong people to join us in guarding the main thoroughfares of our major sites of democracy: Admiralty, Causeway Bay and Mong Kok.

These “Democracy Squares” are the results of the resistance of countless Hong Kong citizens in the face of police obstruction, and of the collected will of the people. We must concentrate our strength and protect them. The students and OCLP hope that when the time comes, we can all be steadfast in making our demands. The first one is for Leung Chun-ying to step down. If this happens, the government will naturally have to re-launch the five-step political reform process. Second is for the NPCSC to withdraw its decision. We deeply believe the Chinese government, which was established through the power of the people, can accommodate the will of the people, and allow Hong Kong to enjoy universal and fair elections – thereby wholly implementing Deng Xiaoping’s vision of Hong Kong people ruling Hong Kong.

The results we have achieved so far have not come easily, the incident in Mong Kok in the early hours of this morning show us these results can easily be damaged by individual people. We urge everyone to come and participate in this movement, and to take up the role of guardians, or “everyone a steward”, so that we can ensure this diverse movement initiated by Hong Kong civil society is peaceful and safe. Also, there have been rumours, some of which are harmful to the movement have been spreading recently. We hope everyone can first verify such “news” with your prime source before spreading it.

Since the movement started, some medical personnel have volunteered to provide medical assistance to participants, yet their efforts have been unreasonably hampered by authorities. We attach great importance to each citizen’s rights to receive emergency medical treatment. Starting from today, our stewards will set up humanitarian corridors in the occupied areas, so that emergency vehicles can have access when they need it.

[和平佔中秘書處新聞稿] 2014年9月30日

鞏固成果  繼續和平抗爭





Occupy Central with Love and Peace condemns the government for ignoring people’s request for genuine universal suffrage and simply employing delay tactics

OCLP Press Release (issued on 29.9.2014)
The occupy movement has become full-fledged with tens of hundreds of citizens taking to the streets fighting for genuine universal suffrage and supporting the students.  Chief Secretary Carrie Lam responded by just postponing the second-round constitutional reform consultation instead of restarting the five-step procedure.  We believe the government is just employing delay tactics and waiting for a more favorable timing to implement a fake universal suffrage with screening.  This is clearly a disregard for public opinion.  Also, Chief Executive CY Leung has been evading the strong request of the public to step down, which does not help resolve the crisis of social disorder triggered by the constitutional reform issue.  We believe CY Leung will be condemned by the history of democratic development in Hong Kong.
Carrie Lam said the government will wait for a “favorable condition” to resume consultation on implementing the NPC Standing Committee’s decision on constitutional reform.  However, we believe they are just hoping people’s desire for genuine universal suffrage to fade out over time.  By delaying the consultation procedure, the government will be able to rush the Legislative Council into passing the fake universal suffrage plan by shortening the time for public discussion.
We must point out that the government’s decision to cancel the firework display on the national day and postpone the consultation on constitutional reform is just aiming to avoid further deterioration in governance and intensification of social conflicts.  They are not really making any concessions.  In fact the government does not concede even the right to use the Civic Square to the citizens and requires strict adherence to the tightened application requirements.  This shows that the government does not have the slightest sincerity and should be condemned.

Press Release by Occupy Central with Love & Peace (issued on 25.9.2014)

OCLP Press Release

“Civil disobedience is the fight against injustice. We are fearless in front of violence and will not strike back,” said Benny Tai and Chan Kin-man, the Occupy Central with Love and Peace organizers, in today’s press conference on the verge of occupation. They called for participants of civil disobedience to adhere to the principle of non-violent resistance.

Today OCLP released a manual of disobedience that explains the philosophy and principles of peaceful disobedience, and provides legal guidance on which particular laws participants could be violating and how to protect personal rights on arrest. It also gives detailed recommendations on how participants should be equipped prior to the occupation. The manual has been uploaded to the OCLP website. (link)

OCLP has put forward eight rules of non-violent resistance. Specifically, in the face of law enforcers and anti-occupy demonstrators, participants should never hurt anyone physically or mentally, or damage any properties. To ensure the safety of the assembly and the effective dissemination of information in the case of emergency, participants should not bring any loudspeakers or large banners that may block the views. According to Chan Kin-man, any participant who deliberately violates the principle of non-violence will first be advised by the picket team to calm down and, if this does not work, asked to leave the assembly. He further said that there are backup plans to change the leadership should all three organizers be arrested.

Benny Tai pointed out that Occupy Central participants could be violating the Public Order Ordinance and the Summary Offences Ordinance. However, British judge Lord Hoffmann once made the following comments in a case: “Civil disobedience on conscientious grounds has a long and honourable history …. It is the mark of a civilized community that it can accommodate protests and demonstrations of this kind.”

It is hard to predict how long the occupy action will last. Chan Kin-man recommended participants to prepare enough food for two to three days. Also listed under the outfit and gear section in the manual are backup batteries and protective goggles against pepper spray.

On the day of occupation, a large number of professionals are expected to offer support to the participants. About 160 medical personnel, including 30 doctors, will be providing medical assistance. An 80-person emotion support team, 90% of which are registered social workers, together with a clinical psychologist, will be working closely with the medical team. For people who are arrested, there is a team of 160 registered social workers providing emotional counseling and another 120 people providing administrative support such as collecting personal particulars for the lawyers. It is also understood that a large number of lawyers are prepared to offer legal support on a personal basis.

Benny said that each participant can submit their personal information to a hotline set up by the organizer via SMS prior to being arrested. 

Chan Kin-man said civil seminars will be held throughout the assembly where participants can “quietly reflect on what each of us can do for Hong Kong in the post-occupy era.”

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Benny Tai: The rationale of Occupy Central is the pursuit of justice

Original published in Apple Daily on 26 August 2014: Read original
Translation on 28 August 2014

The real problem is not the alarm bell, but rather the fire.  It is still burning out there even without any alarm.  The loud alarm goes on just because of the fire, which is the root cause of the problem.  Those who ring the alarm bells, which are very loud indeed, are not trying to create disturbances but are actually trying to warn the occupants instead of fleeing himself.  What is really ridiculous is that the determination, courage and decisiveness are not used to put off the fire but rather used against the one who notices the fire and rings the alarm bells.  I could not help but ask: “What the heck is the rationale behind?”

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Benny Tai: “Pocket it first” may turn out to be “sit on it” or “that’s all”

Benny Tai’s statement on the anti-Occupy Central campaign’s incoherent messaging on universal suffrage and the Hong Kong’s government’s “pocket it first” ploy
Original published in Ming Pao on 9 August 2014: Read original 

The Anti-Occupy Central campaign, which has been gaining momentum, is directed against the “Occupy Central with Love and Peace” movement.  While the campaign claims to support universal suffrage, it has never specified what “universal suffrage” means.  On the face of it, the Anti-Occupy Central campaign aims to stop occupy Central from happening.  To OCLP, however, occupying Central is just a means to a 2017 Chief Executive electoral method that meets international standards and provides voters with a real choice.  In this light, the real purpose of the Anti-Occupy Central campaign is to stop OCLP from achieving universal suffrage through occupying Central. Continue reading

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.

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Benny Tai: Letter to Hong Kong Chief Secretary

Original published in HKEJ on 31 July 2014: Read original
Translation on 2 August 2014

Dear Ms. Carrie Lam,

Due to the time limit of our previous meeting at the Central Government Offices, some of my points were not sufficiently clarified. Therefore I would like to further explain to you the standpoint of Occupy Central with Love and Peace in this open letter. As OCLP is an important folk force behind the constitutional reform development, which is closely associated with the welfare of all Hong Kong people, I would also like to take this opportunity to explain to the public the crisis we are facing with regard to the constitutional reform. Continue reading

Benny Tai: Letter to Hong Kong Civil Servants

Original published in Apple Daily on 22 July 2014: Read original
Translation on 24 July 2014

Dear Hong Kong civil servants,

Although I have never worked in the government, over the last ten years or so I have provided legal training to quite a few government departments on areas including Basic Law, human rights law, judicial review, administrative law, law and governance, etc. I believe several thousand civil servants have attended my class, giving me the opportunity to share our views on governance. I also benefited from their frontline experience of how the law is enforced in reality. Continue reading

Benny Tai: Letter to Hong Kong Frontline Police

Original published in Apple Daily on 14 July 2014: Read Original
Translation on 15 July 2014

Dear frontline police officers in Hong Kong,

511 citizens were removed and arrested after more than a thousand people participated in the sit-in at the Charter Road pedestrian precinct during the early morning of 2nd July. Here I commend the frontline police officers on carrying out their duties in a professional and restrained manner, which proves that the frontline police force in Hong Kong meets international standards. Continue reading