By Mick Krever, CNN
Hong Kong’s democracy movement is peaceful and in it for the long-haul, Occupy Hong Kong Central leader Chan Kin Man told CNN’s Christiane Amanpour on Monday, warning Beijing that military intervention would be “very costly.”
“We do not know whether we can obtain our goal in the short run. But we shouldn’t look at a democracy movement as a battle. It is a war. As long as the spirit of democracy is alive, we are not, and we will not be defeated.”
Thousands of protesters packed the streets of Hong Kong on Monday to push Beijing to rescind its recent decision to maintain veto power over candidates for Hong Kong’s chief executive. Police cracked down on the protests overnight on Sunday, firing tear gas and pepper spray.
“The demonstration was in a very peaceful and orderly manner,” Chan said. “It is totally unacceptable for the police to use such a brutal force.”
“People are not afraid. So now the government is backing down. We don't see any tear gas today.”
Chan vowed that the Occupy protest, which is currently scheduled to continue through Hong Kong’s national day on October 1, would remain peaceful; after that date, he said, they would “announce another stage of action.”
“I don't think they will turn Hong Kong into another Tiananmen Square, because it will be very costly. If they send troops here to Hong Kong, then there will be no more one country, two systems. There will be no more international financial center.”
“China relies on the fast-growth economy to keep social stability, and I don't think China could afford, you know, facing this kind of censorship. So I don’t think they will be stupid enough to send troops to Hong Kong.”
He remained stoic.
“When we are in trial, people like me, who are organizers, we will not hire any lawyer to defend us. We will just make a political statement to explain why we had to do it because we want to do it for the next generation. We want to do it for the well-being of our communities.”