'Occupy Central' protesters should beat the drum of retreat

Updated: 2014-10-08 07:53

By Fung Keung(HK Edition)

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'Occupy Central' protesters should beat the drum of retreat

I went to church on Sunday morning. My 600 fellow congregants and I spent 15 minutes praying for the safety of the students taking part in the street protests in Hong Kong. Since I am a part-time university lecturer and some of the demonstrators are my students, I was somewhat emotional as I prayed.

Since a few days ago when scuffles occurred in Mong Kok, in the heart of Kowloon, I strongly believe that the tide has turned for the demonstrating students. The student leaders, and three academics who initiated the "Occupy Central" movement, should beat the drums of retreat. There is no other option without bloodshed and casualties.

In a way, the students have already succeeded in making their demands known, not only to Hong Kong people and central government leaders, but to the world audience. The smart tactic now would be to walk away, go home and continue their studies to become all-rounded citizens.

The demonstrating students should be well aware that there is no possibility of Beijing overturning the resolution that National People's Congress Standing Committee has passed with regards to Hong Kong's 2017 electoral system. What the students can hope for, and I pray that they have wisdom to understand this, is for reform, perhaps five years on from 2017, of the methods for nominating and electing the Chief Executive of the Hong Kong SAR.

Any clear-headed Hong Kong citizen should well know that there is next to no chance of Beijing changing its mind.

Once a policy is established, we should expect Beijing to carry it out. Meanwhile, central government leaders also need to consider how Taiwan pro-independence elements and Xinjiang separatists are likely to react if the central government backs down with regards to the demands of Hong Kong students. I believe the chances of Beijing giving in are zero.

I also strongly believe that Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying will not resign unless Beijing tells him to. The central government simply would not countenance such a move, period. The demonstrating students are simply too naive to even consider that Beijing would let Leung resign.

China has become a strong, powerful state. Totally different from the Qing dynasty, Beijing will not "kowtow" to the threats or demands of Western powers.

If anything, what is happening in Hong Kong is most certainly China's internal affairs. World governments should keep their own council.

Foreign governments need to trade with China, they would not risk their business interests by condemning Beijing's handling of Hong Kong demonstrators. They have too much to lose.

It would cause Hong Kong's economy and foreign investment in the city to decline, not to mention the inconvenience many Hong Kong commuters have to suffer, if the demonstrations continue. It is high time protesting students and other demonstrators beat the drums of retreat. It is an intelligent choice, and the right one.

The author is a veteran journalist and senior lecturer at Beacon College, a Hong Kong-based English tutorial school.

(HK Edition 10/08/2014 page7)