'Occupy' equals 'color revolution'

Updated: 2013-06-27 05:43

By Kam Hei-man (HK Edition)

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In a recent telephone survey conducted by the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong (DAB) of more than 1,000 Hong Kong residents regarding the planned illegal campaign known as "Occupy Central", 70 percent of the respondents said they do not support it. Even in the younger age group that included radical students, non-supporters of "Occupy Central" outnumbered supporters by 8 percentage points.

Meanwhile, 73 percent of respondents in the 50-and-over age group said they are worried that "Occupy" will cause heavy damage to Hong Kong's economy; and 50 percent of the respondents in the 18-39 age group shared the same concern. Of course this 50 percent was preceded by the word "only" or "just" in media reports sympathetic to the opposition camp.

In an unprecedented move, however, the Chinese Manufacturers' Association of Hong Kong (CMA) bought ad spaces in several major newspapers earlier this month to announce its opposition to "Occupy", with a serious warning that the illegal campaign will hurt Hong Kong's financial sector so badly that the stock market alone may lose up to HK$10 billion a day in lost transactions. It also said financial giants and leading property developers located in Central will not be the only ones to suffer when "Occupy" happens, as numerous medium and small enterprises will also be adversely affected and ultimately the whole city will see its productivity plummet if "Occupy" lasts long enough. Given the fact that the great majority of CMA member companies are in the real (physical) economy, the organization's representativeness of Hong Kong's business community is beyond question.

There is no doubt "Occupy" will cause heavy damage to Hong Kong's economy if its scale is big enough. That is why Tai Yiu-ting, one of the three authors of the original de facto call to arms widely regarded as an "Occupy" manifesto, openly bragged that he sees "Occupy" as a "nuclear bomb" for the opposition to bargain with the central authorities and the SAR government over constitutional development issues. He was clearly referring to the severity of the damage "Occupy" is capable of inflicting on Hong Kong's economy. It does not have to involve killing people and setting properties on fire to be destructive, as it can paralyze half of Central by blocking one main road that goes through the central business district.

'Occupy' equals 'color revolution'

Of course businesses in Central may be able to remain partially operational by using electronic communication for a while but eventually they will have to close down or move out if "Occupy" continues long enough. Foreign corporations in particular will be the first to bail out because they have no say in the matter but can vote with their feet, so to speak. Such is the destruction Tai's "nuclear bomb" can cause. It means certain death for the economy, with or without physical violence. But then again, most if not all riots started as peaceful protests, with non-violence as a main rallying call. Tai and gang have insisted that "Occupy" would be peaceful in principle but admitted it could turn violent quite easily.

That brings to mind the "color revolutions" in Central Asia, the Middle East and Northern Africa in recent years. Those instances of political turmoil all began as peaceful movements with highly-excitable but too-young-to-reason youths as the mainstay. One of their common characteristics is widespread violence and total chaos that brought the governments to their knees and anarchism taking over. Another is forces backed by monopolistic foreign interests vying for domination with extreme force and heavy toll on human lives as well as statehood. Still another is the inciting role played by the media. I bet none of the Western newspapers and networks was prepared to witness a young leader of the anti-government forces in Syria they had been hyping like a pop star eating a raw human heart freshly cut out of a government soldier's chest.

The ultimate bane of all these "shock and awe" revolutions is that they have achieved none of the Western "wonders" the masterminds promised and many people's lives only got worse even after the violence subsided, with little hope of turning around in the foreseeable future. Sure they all got to vote eventually, but what have the people they put in power with their ballots brought them in return? In many cases it has been more suffering.

Admittedly "Occupy" is unlikely to become so horrific, but the goal of the opposition camp is not a bloodbath to begin with. They just want to seize Hong Kong's governing power or at least make the SAR government as good as dead, leaving its administration to the Legislative Council, which will be totally under their control. By then Hong Kong will be virtually "independent" but "owned" by monopolistic foreign interests in effect. For this reason alone "Occupy" is no different from those "color revolutions", but I don't believe it will succeed as the later did, because the great majority of Hong Kong residents are not so gullible and their opposition against "Occupy" will only grow stronger as more people see through its fantastic faade and realize it is a calamity waiting to happen.

The author is a current affairs commentator. This is an excerpted translation of his article published in the June issue of Bauhinia Magazine.

(HK Edition 06/27/2013 page9)