''Hong Kong protests increased support for democracy''
Hong Kong`s "Occupy Central" protest campaign has not backfired despite recent polls showing support for Beijing`s reform framework, the movement`s co-founder has said.
Hong Kong: Hong Kong`s "Occupy Central" protest campaign has not backfired despite recent polls showing support for Beijing`s reform framework, the movement`s co-founder has said.
In an interview with the South China Morning Post, reviewing the impact of 79 days of the protest, Benny Tai Yiu-ting said that the campaign had, in fact, widened the support base of the pro-democracy camp.
"Occupy has achieved the goal of social awakening far more than was intended," Tai said. "Occupy did not end with a loss -- we have expanded the pro-democracy camp."
Saying that the tough stance taken by Beijing towards Hong Kong could be "a strategic consideration", Tai said he has not lost hope for genuine reform in the next few years.
Speaking a week after police cleared the Occupy base camp in Admiralty, Tai said he was aware that some polls had shown that public sentiment against Beijing`s stringent reform framework handed down in August for the 2017 chief executive election -- the decision that triggered the protests -- had waned slightly.
"It is true that towards the end, more people became anti-Occupy because they found it went on too long. But they did not object to civil disobedience or universal suffrage," said Tai, who co-founded the movement which eventually deviated from his script as the leadership shifted to students and the protest was prolonged.
He said politicians were now aware of the need to connect with young people if they are to survive.
"Hong Kong`s future democratic movement will no longer be a vertical structure -- there are no top-down relations and parties can no longer be the leader."
Hong Kong police December 15 broke up the last bastion of the pro-democracy protests in the city, bringing an end to the 79-day campaign.