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The Business and Professionals Alliance for Hong Kong (BPA) today (August 13) provided a platform for representatives from different segments of the community to voice their concerns on the threat of a blockade in Central. More than 400 individuals from the business, professional, community and district groups joined the BPA to urge Hong Kong citizens in “safeguarding the city’s economy and people’s livelihoods by denouncing ‘Occupy Central’”. Participants also called for a rational and pragmatic approach to achieving universal suffrage for the election of the Chief Executive in 2017.
Mr Andrew Leung Kwan-yuen, BPA Chairman, said that a timely introduction of universal suffrage for the next CE election that conformed to the law was an aspiration shared by Beijing, the SAR Government and the people of Hong Kong. A series of meetings beginning from Friday (August 15) between Mr Zhang Xiaoming, Director of Liaison Office of the Central People’s Government in the HKSAR, and LegCo members from the pan-democratic camp is a testament to ongoing efforts from all sides to maintain a constructive dialogue. “As there is still room for discussion, we should insist that this be conducted in a peaceful and rational manner when determining an outcome that is compatible with the Basic Law and the decisions made by the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress, and which is acceptable to the general public,” he said.
Mr Leung reiterated that the BPA would continue to maintain a sensible and moderate position on the issue of the process for electing the next CE in 2017 and to “blaze a trail (in attaining universal suffrage) for ourselves and for Hong Kong”.
Members of the BPA also emphasized that Hong Kong people were not only keen to see the implementation of universal suffrage for the CE election in 2017, but were also hopeful of a healthy economy and better livelihoods. The BPA looks forward to taking the first step towards universal suffrage as and when the community achieves consensus in a rational and peaceful manner.
A combined total of 35 business and professional associations, and youth and community organizations spanning small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), transport and logistics, real estate and construction, textiles, entertainment, tourism, retail, catering, agriculture and fisheries, were represented at the event and took turns voicing their concerns.
Chambers of commerce and professional bodies called for calm and compromise in the debate on constitutional reform and were firmly opposed to “Occupy Central” as a bargaining chip. Other representatives pointed out that the Hong Kong’s success to date was made possible by support from the Central Government and this should not be jeopardized in the name of selfish and narrow political interests. There were also concerns with the repercussions on property owners, who accounted for half of Hong Kong’s population, in the event of an upheaval, which could lead to a sharp fall in property prices.
Representatives from the tourism, retail, catering, logistics and engineering sectors were worried that the “Occupy Central” would pose a threat to their businesses and their employees’ livelihoods. SMEs and youth organizations representatives in turn criticized the organizers of “Occupy Central” for hijacking public opinion. In many cases, younger members of the public are not aware of the serious consequences associated with participating in unlawful activities of the “Occupy Central” movement, which could lead to a criminal record.
In his closing remarks, Mr Jeffrey Lam Kin-fung, BPA Vice Chairman, likened the day’s stormy weather to the turbulent political situation in Hong Kong. “If buffeting winds, heavy downpour, a restive society and uncertain future are the outcomes that we can expect from ‘Occupy Central’, is this something we can live with?” asked Mr Lam. He said that Hong Kong’s prosperity and stability were built upon the many years of toil and sweat by prior generations and was emphatic that these hard-earned achievements should not be undone by the “Occupy Central” minority.
Mr Lam said he was deeply touched by the overwhelming response from the more than four hundred individuals who had turned up for the rally, which was originally scheduled to be held outdoors at Chater Garden in Central. Although many participants had undertaken to attend the rally regardless of weather conditions on the day, the BPA decided last night to switch venues due to safety considerations.