A group of Hong Kong students say they will support a mass civil disobedience movement to occupy the central business district next year unless the government issues a plan to consult the public on expanding voting rights.
More than 700 students from Hong Kong’s seven universities and colleges gathered Sunday to discuss the issue and their willingness to stage protests.
Since the handover of Hong Kong’s sovereignty from Britain to China in 1997, many citizens and pro-democracy groups have pushed for universal suffrage to elect Hong Kong’s chief executive and its legislature. But both are still chosen by a committee, which was recently expanded to 1,200 people.
Hong Kong’s current chief, C.Y. Leung, recently dismissed calls for early public consultation on electoral reform.
Benny Tai, an organizer of Hong Kong’s Occupy Central Movement, says in a VOA interview that he believes the movement is already having an impact.
“Whatever happens to the Occupy Central movement, it is changing the landscape of Hong Kong’s democracy, because with the students’ participation, the impact will be far-reaching. I was an activist in my student years in the 1980s, and I am still pressing on right now," he said.
Sunday’s consultation meeting will be followed by many in the months to come. The movement has planned 15 consultation meetings before next July, to mobilize all sectors of society for universal suffrage.
This report was produced in collaboration with the VOA Cantonese service.