Exam Review: Hong Kong’s Occupy Central with Love and Peace

Justin Tse | 29 August 2014 | Religon. Ethnicity. Wired.

Things are heating up over there in Hong Kong over the movement known as Occupy Central with Love and Peace. There’s going to be a rally on August 31 to deliberate over what sorts of acts of civil disobedience the movement will take in response to Beijing’s newly proposed framework for Hong Kong’s electoral reform. This is because while the Occupy Central movement put forward a proposal for Chief Executive candidates to be determined by civil nomination, Beijing has de facto rejected the proposal by insisting on choosing the candidates. Universal suffrage, however, seems to be still on the table. All of this comes on the heels of an anti-Occupy Central rally that was held in Central, as well as several seemingly political investigations of pro-democracy legislators. To add even more alarm in terms of the parallels to the Beijing Spring in Tiananmen Square in 1989, armoured vehicles have been reported to be entering Hong Kong from China.

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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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Threshold set for Occupy Central

25 August 2014 | RTHK

Occupy Central organiser Benny Tai says his movement won’t carry out their full disobedience campaign if Beijing only rules out public nomination for the 2017 chief executive election.

The Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress is expected to make a decision next Sunday. Occupy Central has said it will peacefully block Hong Kong’s business district if Beijing doesn’t offer democracy which meets international standards.

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The more you protest, the less Beijing will bend, democracy activists told

Tony Cheung in Beijing, Peter So and Gary Cheung | 16 August 2014 | SCMP

The more Hong Kong activists talk about using civil disobedience to press Beijing to heed demands for greater democracy, the more it will stand firm on electoral reform, the city’s sole representative on the country’s top legislative body warned yesterday.

Rita Fan Hsu Lai-tai offered the warning as the body, the National People’s Congress Standing Committee, began a week of deliberations to define the framework by which Hong Kong will elect its next leader in 2017.

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A Human Rights Defence of Hong Kong’s Occupy Central

Mattias Cheung | 16 August 2014 | Oxford Human Rights Hub

With the Hong Kong Government set on introducing an undemocratic electoral reform in the coming months, Professor Benny Tai has proposed to organise a peaceful assembly, ‘Occupy Central with Love and Peace’. It has been condemned and denounced as an affront to the rule of law.

The background to this saga is the Hong Kong Government’s proposed electoral reforms. With the imprimatur of Beijing in 2007, the Government now plans to introduce universal suffrage for Chief Executive (head of government) elections, but candidates must be nominated by an unaccountable nominating committee. This carries the imminent risk that ‘undesirable’ candidates will be screened out, contrary to Article 26 of the Basic Law and Article 25 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (‘ICCPR’).

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Anson Chan, former ‘Iron Lady’ of Hong Kong, now fights for democratic rights

William Wan | 5 August 2014 | Washington Post | Reposted in the Guardian Weekly

She is often called the “Iron Lady” of Hong Kong. Anson Chan earned respect serving as Hong Kong’s second-highest official when the British were in charge. And when the colony was handed back to China in 1997, Beijing enlisted Chan to help with that transition.

“I never in my wildest dream predicted 17 years after the handover that Hong Kong would be in this state. Nor did I foresee – and this is particularly disappointing – that all three parties to the joint declaration and the Basic Law [Hong Kong’s equivalent of a constitution] – Beijing, Britain, Hong Kong’s government – would all choose to walk away from their promises to the people of Hong Kong.”

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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

An Introduction to the Chief Executive Electoral Reform Debate

Alvin Y. H. Cheung | 25 July 2014 | Human Rights in China

Seventeen years after China’s resumption of sovereignty over Hong Kong, the former British colony has returned to the spotlight. The debate over reforms to the process for selecting the city’s next Chief Executive in 2017 has reached fever pitch. Democracy advocates are rallying behind the “Occupy Central” civil disobedience movement; authorities in Beijing have responded by threatening suppression by the People’s Liberation Army. But what is the argument about, and what is truly at stake?

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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

Why Are The “Big Four” Opposed To Hong Kong Democracy Demonstrations?

21 July 2014 | Mint Press News

WASHINGTON — Rights and watchdog groups are questioning both the logical and legal basis for a series of advertisements, published by the world’s four largest accountancy firms, expressing opposition to the recent pro-democracy demonstrations that took place in Hong Kong.

The firms include one, Deloitte, headquartered in the United States, as well as three European companies, PricewaterhouseCoopers, Ernst & Young (now known as EY) and KPMG. Of course, these are fully global entities, with collective revenues above $100 billion a year and together known simply as “the Big Four.”

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Amnesty International: Stop pursuing charges against peaceful protesters

2 July 2014 | Amnesty International

Petition

Dear Secretary Yuen,

I’m writing to urge the Hong Kong government to drop all investigations and criminal proceedings against peaceful protesters in conjunction with events on 1 and 2 July.

The twenty-five protesters, most of them students, under investigation for “illegal assembly”, “organizing and assisting in an illegal assembly” and “obstruction in a public place” and the five members of Civil Human Rights Front, who organized the 1 July march and are also under investigation, were only peacefully exercising their human rights to freedom of assembly and freedom of expression.

Hong Kong is bound by the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) to respect and protect the rights to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly. These rights are protected by Articles 19 and 21 of the ICCPR, respectively and also Article 27 of the Hong Kong Basic Law, sometimes referred to as Hong Kong’s mini-constitution.

The Hong Kong police labelled the assembly as an “illegal assembly” as the organizers of the sit-in protest did not apply for “a letter of no objection” in accordance with Hong Kong’s Public Order Ordinance. However, the requirement to apply for “a letter of no objection” runs counter to the international human rights law, which does not require advance approval for holding a peaceful assembly.

I would like to remind you of the concluding observations of the UN Human Rights Committee following its consideration of Hong Kong’s report to the Committee on its implementation of the ICCPR in 2013. The Committee raised concerns that ‘the application in practice of certain terms contained in the Public Order Ordinance, inter alia, “disorder in public places” or “unlawful assembly”, which may facilitate excessive restriction to the Covenant rights’ and recommended that Hong Kong should ensure that the implementation of the Public Order Ordinance is in conformity with the Covenant.

Yours sincerely,

The New York Times: Michael C. Davis on the Battle Over Hong Kong’s Future

Chris Buckley | 19 June 2014 | The New York Times

Hong Kong is undergoing deepening tensions over its political future as a self-governed territory under Chinese sovereignty. Democratic activists have demanded that residents win the right to elect Hong Kong’s top leader, called the chief executive, without procedures that would ensure that only candidates approved by Beijing appear on the ballot. Many of the activists have endorsed Occupy Central with Love and Peace, a movement whose members have said they will stage civil disobedience protests in the city’s financial heart if electoral reform plans proposed by the Hong Kong government and Beijing, possibly later this year, do not meet their criteria for universal suffrage.

In an interview, Michael C. Davis, a professor of law at the University of Hong Kong, explained what is at stake.

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China warns of limits to Hong Kong freedom as protests loom

James Pomfret & Nikki Sun | 10 June 2014 | Reuters

China warned Hong Kong on Tuesday that there were limits to its freedom and it should adhere strictly to the law ahead of a planned pro-democracy protest that could end up shutting down part of the financial hub’s business district.

As the most liberal city on Chinese soil, the former British colony has grappled with Beijing since its return to Chinese rule in 1997 to preserve its freedoms and capitalist way of life under a “one-country, two-systems” formula.

Over the past year, however, a push by democracy activists to hold protests, as part of a campaign for the right to choose candidates for a poll in 2017 to elect Hong Kong’s next leader, has stoked friction and unnerved Beijing leaders fearful of an opposition democrat taking the city’s highest office.

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Liaison chief Zhang Xiaoming unmoved by Occupy Central’s poll options

Tony Cheung, Tanna Chong | 9 May 2014 | SCMP

Beijing’s liaison office chief has reiterated that reform for the 2017 chief executive election must adhere to the Basic Law, a stance previously taken to rule out public nomination.

The remarks by Zhang Xiaoming, quoted by a pan-democratic lawmaker who met him yesterday, were the first response by a mainland official to Occupy Central supporters’ selection of three options for the poll, which all call for the public to have the right to nominate candidates.

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