Approval by Hong Kong's legislature of electoral reforms proposed by Beijing that limit popular suffrage will spark angry street demonstrations by citizens of the former British colony, student leaders said on Monday.
The Hong Kong government on April 22 put forth an electoral plan for 2017 in line with guidelines issued by China's parliament, the National People's Congress (NPC), on Aug. 31, under which Hong Kong's five million voters will each cast a ballot for the chief executive, but may only choose between two or three candidates pre-approved by Beijing.
“If the motion is to be passed in LegCo in June or July, people will definitely occupy LegCo,” Alex Chow, former Secretary General of Hong Kong Federation of Students, told RFA's Cantonese Service in an interview in Washington. LegCo is Hong Kong's 60-seat Legislative Council.
"It is for legislators to think about whether they can bear such consequences, in the political way or in the personal career way,” he said.
Nathan Law, Secretary General of Hong Kong Federation of Students, told RFA he wasn't sure any public reaction to the voting proposal would match in scale the mass Occupy Central democracy movement that blocked key highways in downtown Hong Kong for 79 days last year in opposition to Beijing's plan.
“There will be an explosion of anger if the proposal is passed and there will be a massive movement later on,” Law said.
Law said he was concerned that future protests could be "more radical" and "destructive" than last year's protests.
Chow dismissed as "ridiculous" assertions carried in Chinese state media that the universal suffrage campaign is Western inspired.
"It is very obvious that this kind of claim was constructed by the authorities because they would like to complicate the situation and to really oppress the activists by constructing such a false statement,” he said.
“If we look closely at the umbrella movement we will find no evidence that the people of the umbrella movement have received any donation or support from foreign countries,” said Chow.
The late 2014 protests took the yellow umbrella as its symbol after protesters used umbrellas to shield themselves from pepper spray and tear-gas in clashes with police.
Reported by RFA's Cantonese Service. Written by Paul Eckert.