09/25/2014, 00.00
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Occupy Central issues 'manual of disobedience" to avoid provoking authorities in Hong Kong

Pro-democracy group releases a manual on peaceful demonstrations. Participants are asked to bring what they need for due days, advises them on how to avoid violence. Beijing plans to send "observers" to monitor the sit-in on 1 October. In Taiwan, civil society groups warn that under mainland rule there will be no freedom.

Hong Kong (AsiaNews) - Occupy Central has issued a "manual of disobedience" to possible participants in the expected pro-democracy "banquet" set for 1 October.

The eight-page document sets out the does and don'ts on how to keep the protest peaceful. Protesters are warned not to wear masks or bring anything that could be considered a weapon that could provoke the authorities.

The goal is to force the central government to grant Hong Kong true democracy. With this in mind, organisers hope to see tens of thousands of people come out to mark 1 October, chosen because it is the anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China.

The manual advises participants to take food for two or three days and clothing for the outdoors.

The group asked for permission to set up in Chater Garden, in the heart of the city's financial district. It plans for the protests to continue indefinitely, organisers explain, at least until mainland China does not allow true democracy by withdrawing the proposal it made at the end of August for the 2017 election.

In order to curb these activities and gather information about pro-democracy leaders, the central government is planning to send hundreds of observers from Shenzhen to monitor the situation and advise the local government on how to respond.

This is part of a pattern that developed after an estimated 500,000-strong march in 2003 derailed plans for a national security law pushed by Beijing.

For members of the Occupy Central movement, these observers are nothing but spies. Their real purpose is to collect "evidence" to use at a later date against those who dared to challenge the central government.

Veteran China watcher Johnny Lau Yui-siu casts doubt on the effectiveness of the exercise, saying that "Having top officials in Shenzhen will only add urgency for middle-ranking and junior officials to implement instructions issued by their bosses".

Beijing's action is pushing even Taiwan away from its sphere of influence. After decades of open hostility, the two governments had recently begun a process of rapprochement centred for now on trade relations.

The purpose, although not stated openly, for closer economic ties would be to prepare the ground for a political agreement that would bring Taiwan under mainland control.

Officials with Taiwan's ruling Kuomintang cited the Hong Kong model as a possible way for the future. That is no longer the case.

Dr Morris Huang once believed that a deeper bond between Taiwan and mainland China would bring great economic benefits.

However, "In just 17 years since Hong Kong reverted to mainland rule, the Beijing authorities have already broken their promise to allow Hong Kong a high degree of autonomy for at least half a century," he said the 59-year-old dentist whose parents fled Guangdong in 1949.

All hope of freedom under Beijing's direct rule was now gone, he said. "Can we trust them anymore?"

"What China has done to Hong Kong only proves that its so-called promise of 'one country, two systems' is nothing but lies," said Chen Wei-ting, a leader of Taiwan's "Sunflower" student protest that forced the Taiwanese government to back off proposed closer trade relations with the mainland.

Taiwan must back Hong Kong, said Wang Dan, a former student leader of the 1989 protests in Tiananmen Square, because "once there are no more such protests by Hongkongers, China will be able to concentrate its efforts to take down Taiwan".

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