Anti-‘Oc­cupy’ move­ment goes on­line

China Daily (Canada) - - CHINA - By KAHON CHAN in Hong Kong kahon@chi­nadai­lyhk.com

Hong Kong res­i­dents work­ing or study­ing out­side the spe­cial ad­min­is­tra­tive re­gion can join the coun­ter­move­ment to “Oc­cupy Cen­tral” and take a stand for peace in Hong Kong on Satur­day, when an on­line pe­ti­tion plat­form will open to the pub­lic.

Or­ga­niz­ers of the “Oc­cupy” move­ment are plan­ning a mas­sive rally in Hong Kong’s Cen­tral district — an ac­tion the govern­ment has al­ready de­clared il­le­gal — to par­a­lyze the heart of the city and co­erce the cen­tral and the spe­cial ad­min­is­tra­tive re­gion’s gov­ern­ments into ac­cept­ing their de­mands for po­lit­i­cal re­form.

It is feared that the ac­tiv­ity, which could spark vi­o­lence, would deal a se­vere blow to the lo­cal econ­omy and ul­ti­mately squan­der the chance of re­al­iz­ing uni­ver­sal suf­frage in the SAR.

Since July 19, more than 1 mil­lion peo­ple have joined the “Sign for Peace and Democ­racy Move­ment”, hosted by the Al­liance for Peace and Democ­racy, which con­sists of 1,340 busi­ness groups, trade unions and com­mu­nity or­ga­ni­za­tions op­posed to the “Oc­cupy” fac­tion.

“Sign for Peace” has re­lied so far on hun­dreds of street­side kiosks and af­fil­i­ated groups to col­lect printed forms signed by pe­ti­tion­ers.

As part of the orig­i­nal plan, the al­liance will roll out an on­line sig­na­ture plat­form on its web­site — sign4­peacedemoc­racy.hk — by mid­night on Satur­day. China Tele­com pro­vided tech­ni­cal sup­port. The page will re­main open un­til the pe­ti­tion ends on Aug 17.

Apart from giv­ing a full name, par­tic­i­pat­ing res­i­dents must also pro­vide ID card num­bers for ver­i­fi­ca­tion and de­clare they have not signed the pe­ti­tion be­fore. They may also choose to pro­vide a con­tact num­ber.

All in­for­ma­tion will be used solely for the pe­ti­tion, or­ga­niz­ers say.

The al­liance’s ini­tia­tor, Robert Chow Yung, said on Thurs­day that or­ga­niz­ers de­lib­er­ately chose to de­lay un­veil­ing the on­line pe­ti­tion un­til Satur­day be­cause there is ap­par­ently no prac­ti­cal way to screen out du­pli­cate or false en­tries that could un­der­mine the cred­i­bil­ity of the pe­ti­tion.

The ad­van­tage of start­ing with the old-school ap­proach of phys­i­cal sig­na­tures, he said, was that a sig­na­ture col­lec­tor on the ground is bet­ter po­si­tioned to ver­ify the iden­ti­ties of the first wave of pe­ti­tion­ers.

The on­line pe­ti­tion was still es­sen­tial, how­ever, for Hong Kong peo­ple liv­ing else­where to show their com­mit­ment to op­pos­ing the “Oc­cupy” move­ment, he said.

As the on­line sys­tem is un­able to de­tect ID num­bers that were reg­is­tered ear­lier in the pe­ti­tion or gen­er­ated by com­put­ers, Chow ap­pealed to sup­port­ers not to sign more than once. With an im­pres­sive turnout on record, he also main­tained that or­ga­niz­ers had no rea­son to cheat.

The al­liance will also run an in­ten­sive 12-day pub­lic­ity cam­paign in lo­cal news­pa­pers ahead of the anti“Oc­cupy” rally on Aug 17.

The al­liance has not dis­closed de­tailed plans yet. Chow said ef­forts are still con­cen­trated on the cur­rent pe­ti­tion. But the al­liance is likely to re­main ac­tive un­til the city se­cures the prom­ise of uni­ver­sal suf­frage by early next year.

ED­MOND TANG / CHINA DAILY

Al­liance for Peace and Democ­racy ini­tia­tor Robert Chow Yung at­tends a pub­lic­ity cam­paign on Thurs­day for the on­line pe­ti­tion “Sign for Peace and Democ­racy Move­ment”, which aims to op­pose the “Oc­cupy Cen­tral” move­ment, main­tain peace and sup­port uni­ver­sal suf­frage in Hong Kong.

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