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China Daily Website  

Majority pay the price for minority's acts

Updated: 2014-10-08 08:07
By Leung Kwok-Leung (China Daily)

The ongoing political farce that is "Occupy Central" has cost the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region tens of billions of dollars in economic losses over the past nine days. It began with class boycotts by university students and secondary school pupils, whose organizers, the Hong Kong Federation of Students and Scholarism, maintained back then they would boycott classes but not studies. They invited some scholars to give public lectures about constitutional reform and "real universal suffrage".

However, the boycott soon turned into an illegal campaign by other political organizations with a penchant for violence. They proceeded to occupy the open space known as "Civic Square" in front of the government headquarters in Admiralty and block all access to government offices. They also used barricades to stop police officers from performing their duties and went so far as to attack them with umbrellas and other blunt objects in an attempt to breach the police cordon around the government complex. The organizers also encouraged their followers to put the chief executive's office under siege.

When the Hong Kong Police Force sought to contain the mob-like crowd, some radical groups and individuals with ulterior motives made the authorities' proper response an excuse to fan resentment toward the officers at the scene and elsewhere in the city. As a result more illegal gatherings took place in the busy commercial areas of Central, Causeway Bay and Mong Kok, blocking traffic on major streets and forcing hundreds of shops, schools, kindergartens and government services to close down.

The three initiators of "Occupy Central" could hardly hide their glee as they bragged about the "impacts everywhere" and used the chaotic situation as a bargaining chip to challenge the SAR government and the central authorities. Their two main demands, that the National People's Congress Standing Committee withdraw its decision regarding Hong Kong's constitutional reform and Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying immediately resign, are both acts that would be against the law. Many students were upset about this tail - wagging-the-dog turn of events and their misgivings caught the attention of the local media, hence the accusation that "Occupy Central" hijacked the student protest and turned it into illegal occupation of public properties.

Insidiously described as "civil disobedience" to deceive the public at home and overseas, the fact is many protesters brought umbrellas with metal poles and spokes that can easily injure or even kill another person. The organizers said the umbrellas were for cover when the police used pepper spray on the protesters, but the truth is many protesters used the umbrellas as weapons to attack police officers first and deliberately aimed the pointed metal poles at police officers' eyes. Dozens of officers sustained injuries from supposedly peaceful umbrellas. It was such premeditated assaults that prompted the police to use pepper spray to repel the attackers, whose intention was to provoke the authorities with violence all along. The protesters also set up camp in public thoroughfares to block traffic and deny other people's access to various destinations, effectively limiting the freedom of movement of millions and the right to subsistence for many business owners. That is another gross violation of the spirit of civil disobedience.

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