We condemn the government’s creation of obstacles to dialogue

[ Press Release 17 October 2014 ]
We condemn the government’s creation of obstacles to dialogue


No sooner had the government announced it would conduct a dialogue with the Hong Kong Federation of Students (HKFS), than the police carried out a de facto clearance of the Mong Kok occupied zone early this morning under the auspices of “removal of obstructive materials. This raises strong doubts about the government’s sincerity to engage in dialogue. In addition to Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying’s addition of the “two no’s” preconditions, these actions show the government is creating obstacles to dialogue. Occupy Central with Love and Peace (OCLP) condemns this.


Just earlier HKFS and the government had reached a consensus on principles for the initiation of talks on political reform: that there should be multiple talks, they should be conducted on an equal basis and that the government would act on the results of the talks. HKFS mentioned civic nomination, the withdrawal of the National People’s Congress Standing Committee decision as demands, both of which are intimately related to political reform and do not in violate any consensus with the government. However, Leung Chun-ying uses the excuse that these demands do not comply with the Basic Law and are not pragmatic to accuse the students of creating obstacles to dialogue. OCLP believes this is a fallacious argument. If the government does not agree with the students’ position it can rebut them during the dialogue. It is unreasonable for the government to require the students to first abandon their position before engaging in dialogue.


Before the commencement of dialogue, students urged protesters to consolidate and guard Umbrella Square, and to not expand the number of occupied areas in a sporadic manner. Yet Leung made a point of saying “dialogue does not mean no clearance”. This clearly show’s Leung’s despotic manner and highlights his ploy to provoke the students to abandon talks.


In fact, what we see is that 15 hours after Leung made his “dialogue does not mean no clearace” remarks, the police cleared the Mong Kok occupied area. Not only this, but they used Leung’s sophistry to portray it as the mere removal of obstructing materials. OCLP believes this is a blatant insult to Hong Kong people’s intelligence, and a trampling on the students’ sincerity to conduct dialogue.


What is even more contemptible is that when the police “cleared” Mong Kok, the first thing they removed was the First Aid Station, without any regard to the fact that people might be injured and need emergency treatment during the clearance operation. This violates humanitarian principles.


OCLP points out that dialogue is an opportunity for Leung Chun-ying to reconcile with society. If the government insists on using the removal on obstructing materials as a front for clearance, this will provoke more citizens to take to the streets, add to anxiety in society, and is not a way to break the current deadlock.


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