On October 2, Hong Kong’s Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying explicitly refused to resign, but said that he would appoint Carrie Lam, Chief Secretary of his administration, to represent the Hong Kong government for talks with striking students and citizens occupying Central Hong Kong. This marked the beginning of a new phase of Hong Kong’s mass movement for universal suffrage, which began with a student strike on September 22.
Peace Initiative for Hong Kong has so far collected nearly 200,000 signatures for its petition, thanks to the efforts of 33 sponsoring organizations and their liaisons, as well as the support of different ethnic groups in various countries across the world. This has prompted the White House to express its support of Hong Kong citizens’ fight for genuine universal suffrage. The pressure of international public opinion has forced the Chinese communist regime to think twice before using armed forces to crackdown the movement. Therefore, the likelihood of a large-scale bloodshed has been reduced considerably. This has also created a relatively safe environment for the student strikes and the occupation of Central Hong Kong.
Presently, Hong Kong’s democratic movement is entering an impasse as begins a second phase. On one hand, the governments of Beijing and Hong Kong are showing a limited goodwill by agreeing to hold a dialogue with the students and their supporting citizens. On the other hand, they have adopted a new strategy of dragging down the morale of demonstrators by attempting to rouse grievances from non protesters in order to find an excuse to crush the movement once nad for all. On October 3, just as demonstrators were getting ready for a dialogue with the Hong Kong government, hired thugs appeared in Mong Kok and Causeway Bay some to provoke a conflict among Hong Kong citizens and to assault students and the supporters of occupying Central Hong Kong. The motivation behind was obvious – to create a pretext for armed repression.
We clearly see this act of the government as a deplorable move to purposely worsen the situation, disregarding the sincerity of Hong Kong’s general public. We urge the Hong Kong government to discuss its political reform with the demonstrators and give top priority to the well-being of Hong Kong’s 7 million citizens as wel as to prosperity, stability and democratic freedom in Hong Kong.
An willingness to negotiate is a sign of political wisdom, and the essence of politics is compromise. As long as the Hong Kong government considers defending the interests of Hong Kong citizens as its ultimate purpose, the students and ordinary citizens have no reason to refuse to sit down with the government to seek a solution for the current impasse.
Since the Hong Kong government is not democratically elected and is being controlled and manipulated by Beijing authorities, its sincere desire for a dialogue is doubtful. However, it is exactly the sincerity from both sides, especially from the government, that is the key factor for an effective dialogue and even the most critical factor contributing to the success of negotiation.
Only under the supervision and pressure of a third party can this factor truly work. Given the current situation in Hong Kong, we believe that the international community is the best and most suitable third party to assume this task. Therefore, faced with an impasse as a new phase of the movement begins, the main work of Peace Initiative for Hong Kong will focus on encouraging continued attention on Hong Kong by governments, parliaments, academics, human rights organizations, media as well as influential individuals around the world. We hereby call on all of them to use various means to closely monitor the words and deeds of Beijing and Hong Kong governments that need to be urged to demonstrate their sincerity in the dialogue which may possibly begin soon.
We also call on our friends in all walks of life to take action and mobilize all possible resources. The world will eventually see who has the sincerity to find a solution for the impasse, and who really wants and cares about the prosperity, stability, freedom and democracy of Hong Kong.