Ahead of the second anniversary of the September 28 “Occupy Central Movement” (also known as the “Umbrella Movement”), Hong Kong’s pro-China Sing Pao Daily News published an astonishing front page commentary criticizing the National People’s Congress (NPC) Chairman Zhang Dejiang for sabotaging Hong Kong. The newspaper was referring to the August 31, 2014, NPC decision, which misjudged Hong Kong’s public sentiment and initiated the policy that eventually led to the 79-day occupation of Admiralty, Mong Kok, and Causeway Bay. While the movement had the goal of allowing every individual voter to vote directly for the Chief Executive of the city, Zhang Dejiang made the decision on August 31, 2014, to refuse the call for a “real election.” The article was titled, “Zhang Dejiang’s Fatal Blow; the ‘8.31’ Decision Led to the Occupation Incident.”
The article strongly blamed Zhang Xiaoming, the Director of the Liaison Office of the Central People’s Government in Hong Kong as well as Leung Chun-ying, the Chief Executive of Hong Kong, for failing to be responsible to the Hong Kong voters and for pushing the police to the front stage, expecting law enforcement to solve political problems. In the early days of the “occupation,” Leung repeatedly released messages involving the use of force; he even hinted that Beijing might dispatch the PLA into Hong Kong.
It is very unusual for a pro-mainland newspaper to criticize sitting heads of critical government branches, such as the Chairman of the NPC, directly. The commentary also mentioned that Chinese President Xi Jinping refused to approve firing at the demonstrators and avoided a Hong Kong version of the “Tiananmen Massacre.”
Source: VOA Chinese, September 28, 2016
Sing Pao, September 28, 2016