‘Hong Kong protests may occur again’

Hong Kong, Sep 26 (IANS) The Hong Kong Federation of Students and Scholarism, the two student groups that led street protests last year, are organising a series of public forums to discuss the way forward for democracy in the city, the media reported on Saturday.

The activists had demanded free elections for the city’s next chief executive in 2017, rather than choose from candidates screened by China, Channel News Asia reported.

Nathan Law, who speaks for the university unions, stopped short of calling last year’s Occupy Movement a failure.

“The government hasn’t given any positive response and we’ve tried a lot of methods like occupation to pressure the government, but it didn’t turn out the way we expected,” said Law, secretary general of the Hong Kong Federation of Students.

“I’m still quite hopeful for the future, because I think there’s a lot of things that have already been planted in the Hong Kong people, like eagerness for democracy and identity as Hong Kong people.”

Both Law and Agnes Chow, member of the group Scholarism, have no regrets in taking part, despite having been arrested. Law is now facing a criminal trial.

Scholarism said it is also seeking “self-determination” – not to be confused with “independence” – engaging civil society to think about Hong Kong post-2047. That is when Beijing’s pledge for a high degree of autonomy, politically and economically, ends.

“It’s very important to think about the next step of our movement, how we should fight for our self-determination, and how should we start a new movement, or even start some kind of direction action, civil disobedience or even occupation,” said Chow.

One of the successes of the movement has been to ignite activism among the younger generation, and many new opposition candidates are running for local district council elections later this year.

A second movement could still happen, but not until a tipping point is reached when there is more support from society, the Occupy leaders say. Possible flashpoints include next year’s Legislative Council elections, and the Chief Executive race in 2017.

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