Is Civil Disobedience ever justified and still effective: Through the Lens of the Umbrella Movement


Introduction

At first glance, ‘Occupy Central’ is not at all unfamiliar as it bears some resemblance with the renowned ‘Occupy Wall Street’ protest movement back in 2011 in the United States. The protestors first occupied the Zuccotti Park, which was located in New York City's Wall Street financial district and the agenda of the Occupy movement was mainly a protest against social and economic inequality. However, ‘Occupy Central’ has nothing to do with the ‘Occupy Wall Street’. Instead, it is a civil disobedience movement proposed by Benny Tai Yiu-ting, an associate professor of law at the University of Hong Kong. In January 2013, Tai released his article entitled ‘Civil disobedience’s mass destruction weapon’ in the Hong Kong Economic Journal column. The publication sparked off the discussion of civil disobedience in Hong Kong, which was previously not widely known in Hong Kong. In the article, Tai proposed a blockade of the roads in Central (otherwise known as the financial district in Hong Kong) to put pressure on the governments of Hong Kong, and the People’s Republic of China (PRC) to guarantee the promised universal suffrage of the Chief Executive and the Legislative Councilors that accords to ‘international standards’ by 2017 and 2020. The publication gained public attention and gave rise to the formation of different group of supporters and opponents of the ‘Occupy Central’ movement from different fields, in particular the pro-democratic and pro-establishment camps in the Legislative Council.

(Please click document image of top left corner to download full paper in pdf)


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