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Hong Kong's anti-'Occupy' movement goes online
Publication Date : 01-08-2014
Hong Kong residents working or studying outside the special administrative region can join the countermovement to "Occupy Central" and take a stand for peace in Hong Kong on Saturday, when an online petition platform will open to the public.
Organisers of the "Occupy" movement are planning a massive rally in Hong Kong's Central district - an action the government has already declared illegal - to paralyse the heart of the city and coerce the central and the special administrative region's governments into accepting their demands for political reform.
It is feared that the activity, which could spark violence, would deal a severe blow to the local economy and ultimately squander the chance of realising universal suffrage in the SAR.
Since July 19, more than 1 million people have joined the "Sign for Peace and Democracy Movement", hosted by the Alliance for Peace and Democracy, which consists of 1,340 business groups, trade unions and community organisations opposed to the "Occupy" faction.
"Sign for Peace" has relied so far on hundreds of streetside kiosks and affiliated groups to collect printed forms signed by petitioners.
As part of the original plan, the alliance will roll out an online signature platform on its website - sign4peacedemocracy.hk - by midnight on Saturday. China Telecom provided technical support. The page will remain open until the petition ends on August 17.
Apart from giving a full name, participating residents must also provide ID card numbers for verification and declare they have not signed the petition before. They may also choose to provide a contact number.
All information will be used solely for the petition, organisers say.
The alliance's initiator, Robert Chow Yung, said on Thursday that organisers deliberately chose to delay unveiling the online petition until Saturday because there is apparently no practical way to screen out duplicate or false entries that could undermine the credibility of the petition.
The advantage of starting with the old-school approach of physical signatures, he said, was that a signature collector on the ground is better positioned to verify the identities of the first wave of petitioners.
The online petition was still essential, however, for Hong Kong people living elsewhere to show their commitment to opposing the "Occupy" movement, he said.
As the online system is unable to detect ID numbers that were registered earlier in the petition or generated by computers, Chow appealed to supporters not to sign more than once. With an impressive turnout on record, he also maintained that organisers had no reason to cheat.
The alliance will also run an intensive 12-day publicity campaign in local newspapers ahead of the anti-"Occupy" rally on August 17.
The alliance has not disclosed detailed plans yet. Chow said efforts are still concentrated on the current petition. But the alliance is likely to remain active until the city secures the promise of universal suffrage by early next year.