Hours after mainland Chinese officials announced new rules ensuring that only handpicked candidates could run for Hong Kong’s top leadership position in 2017, local democracy activist Benny Tai Yiu-ting declared a new “era of civil disobedience.”
Tai, a co-founder of a movement called Occupy Central that has been pressing for “real democracy” for more than a year, called Sunday for Hong Kong’s 7 million people to stage “wave after wave of protests.” He urged Hong Kongers to participate in sit-ins on major roads and paralyze the city’s financial district – known as Central — to demand an unfettered field of candidates.
But two days later, Tai, a constitutional law professor at Hong Kong University, seemed to admit defeat. In an interview with Bloomberg News on Tuesday, he remarked that the strategies used by his civil-disobedience movement had failed.
Tai also expressed doubt about the number of people who would participate in any sit-in. He said that any mass sit-ins would have to occur on a public holiday or a weekend to inflict minimal damage on the economy of Hong Kong, a former British territory and major Asian financial hub.
Mainland Chinese officials have warned that any sit-in could cause major damage to the economy and stature of Hong Kong, which returned to Chinese rule in 1997 and was promised50 years of significant autonomy.
The Crossroads of Special Operations