democracy, freedom of assembly

More Converted to Support Occupy Central after Chan’s Prosecution

Melody Chan (陳玉峰), who was arrested by the Hong Kong police on 8th May, 2013, appeared at Eastern Magistates’ Court this morning. She faced the charge of assisting the holding of an unauthorised assembly and taking part in an unauthorised assembly on 1st July, 2011, a public mass rally having taken place almost two years ago. In fact, protesters having been arrested for taking part in the assembly have already been convicted by the Court and sentenced, leaving only with cases against Raymond Wong Yuk-man and Albert Chan Wai-yip, two lawmakers, pending sentence later this month. The charges are under Hong Kong’s Public Order Ordinance, a notorious legislation impeding people’s right of free assembly and mass protests. Chan, a known activist and volunteer in Occupy Central movement, was accompanied by Rev, Chu Yiu-ming this morning, one of its promoters. The case was adjourned to 7th June, 2013 with bail to Chan.

Chan’s prosecution has resulted in intense public outcry accusing the Hong Kong Government of making political prosecution as the incident allegedly has happened almost two years ago and memories of witnesses would have become blur and facts are unreliable to be recalled. The police claimed that Chan had been on the “wanted list” but due to her failure to cooperate with them, a “low key” arrest was thus made on her. Apparently, such claim was not accepted by critics. Meanwhile, 27 lawmakers belonging to the pro-democrats camp of the territory criticised the Government in a press conference of  making “political persecution” and “elective prosecution”  as Chan was a known volunteer activist in Occupy Central movement. Since its formation, top Government officials, when speaking of the movement, have unambiguously demonstrated their intention to clamp it down.

The Occupy Central movement, a civil disobedience proposal, was first promoted by Benny Tai, a law professor at the University of Hong Kong. The movement aims at promoting full democratic reform to Hong Kong’s election especially with the election of the Chief Executive, the head of the Government, and at pressuring the central Government in Beijing of implementing “genuine” universal suffrage. Supporters to the movement commented that because of the Government’s shameful prosecution action against Chan, some people had converted to support the Occupy Central movement to show their dissatisfaction.

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