Occupy Central leaders anticipate another round of mass pro-democracy protests to be triggered when Chief Secretary Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor launches the latest consultation on political reform today, saying they expected it to produce a conservative final proposal.
Occupy co-founder Benny Tai Yiu-ting said that based on the government report released yesterday about the 79-day protests which ended on December 15, he expected officials would not go beyond the framework set by Beijing for the city’s universal suffrage in 2017.
“Probably the report reflects the way the government is going to handle the consultation on political reform,” Tai told an RTHK radio programme this morning.
“The government cannot take a bigger role in the question of political reform … In the end the power to make decisions is given to the central government.”
Student leader Lester Shum, speaking on the same show, said he expected protests when a final proposal on political reform was tabled to the Legislative Council.
Shum said the consultation would have little meaning if it followed the National People’s Congress Standing Committee’s framework. “No matter if it is two rounds or 200 rounds of consultation, there is little meaning because that would not reflect Hongkongers’ wish for democracy,” he said.
Shum added however, that he and other student activists did not have any plan to block the consultation. Tai and Shum said the government’s public sentiment report failed to address key issues, saying it offered no analysis of Hongkongers’ views on democracy, or the Occupy protests.
Shum said the report’s conclusion – that it is the “common aspiration” of Hongkongers to have universal suffrage in 2017 “as scheduled and strictly in accordance with the Basic Law and the NPCSC’s decisions” – was wrong.
Tai said he expected the final proposal on political reform to be rejected by pan-democrat lawmakers and fail to pass Legco.
Both Shum and Tai may be arrested by Hong Kong police, among other Occupy leaders.
Among those targeted are leaders of the Federation of Students, including secretary general Alex Chow Yong-kang and Eason Chung Yiu-wa, as well as Joshua Wong Chi-fung of Scholarism. They will be charged with organising unauthorised assemblies.
Chan Kin-man and Reverend Chu Yiu-ming, leaders of Occupy Central with Love and Peace, were also on the list. The police didn't answer any questions.
"The police are still investigating at this stage, so we can't comment on this," Secretary for Justice Rimsky Yuen Kwok-keung said. "I can only say that we will act in accordance with usual procedures, that is, all the relevant information and evidence will be presented to the Department of Justice. The department will decide according to the law and the code of prosecution."
Pro-democracy lawmakers, including Civic Party's Alan Leong Kah-kit, Labour Party's Lee Cheuk-yan and League of Social Democrats' Leung Kwok-hung, may also face arrest. Apple Daily founder Jimmy Lai, who backed the protests, might also be arrested.