An Open Letter from over 1300 Civil Servants in HK

The following open letter to HK people is signed by at least 1314 civil servants from 65 Departments:

"On 20 Oct 2014, the Hong Kong Civil Servants General Union & Government Employees Association (The Unions hereafter) issued a joint letter to condemn the Occupy Central as a movement initiated by politicians to stir conflict and put the wellbeing of Hong Kong at stake in exchange for political capital. As part of the civil servant team, we solemnly declare that the open letter of The Unions does not represent us. 

Those who have been paying attention to the Occupy Central movement or the development of the Umbrella Revolution should probably know that traditional role of politicians has been marginalised in the movement and they are not capable of altering its development or direction. Based on the protest in Admiralty on Sep 28 and the Occupy Causeway Bay and Mong Kok on the same day, no single politician or pro-democracy party can rally such a movement. If The Unions was willing to visit the three occupation sites and interact with protesters, who are still stationing there at the moment, before issuing the letter, they might want to change their mind.

Since the first step taken in the 1988 election, Hong Kong people have been convicted to fight for universal suffrage for more than forty years. We are not asking for a privilege, but civil rights promised by the Basic Law. Over these years, peaceful demonstrations and protests, even those participated by a couple million people, were only rewarded with uncommitted response and the result of the demand for democracy via the Legislative Council is rather apparent [that is not making much progress]. Quoting Mr Benny Tai, “Peaceful talks will not bring any fruitful results to fighting for universal suffrage in 2017.”

As civil servants, we fully understand how our colleagues at the front line are put under huge pressure when facing protesters. The Umbrella Movement has been going on for more than twenty days and it has become obvious that protesters are increasingly divided by whether they should hold on to the anti-violence principle or take a more aggressive approach. In fact, the initial idea of having a few thousand or million protesters, waiting to be arrested, never happens. Although the movement has changed as it develops and there are divided opinions, we believe that most occupiers are still holding onto the peaceful-occupation principle in order to fight for a better future for Hong Kong. 

The open letter of The Unions shows absolutely no understanding on the Umbrella Revolution and belittles the progress of Hong Kong democratic movement as a show staged by “wicked politicians manipulating innocent citizens to create conflicts.” This claim is fictional and ignorant of the core issue of the Umbrella Revolution – Hong Kong’s demand for democracy. The open letter does not shed light on how the current problems can be solved. It can only further tear society apart and aggravate the tension between citizens and civil servants. 

We understand that it will mark a complete failure of democratic movement if protesters are asked to dispense before acquiring any concrete results. We also understand that citizens who do not agree with the movement are not pleased with the inconveniences caused. We have to admit that we do not have any solutions. We can only hope that the movement can end with a more fruitful conclusion that Hong Kong’s request for democracy can be answered and the city can get back on track. 

To all occupiers, our colleagues and Hong Kong citizens: We stand together for a better Hong Kong.

A group of civil servants