Hong Kong's Umbrella Revolution leaders haunted by dirty-trick harassment campaigns

From following their grandchildren around at kindergarten to hanging slanderous banners outside their homes to hacking their email to sending funeral wreaths to their doors, the leaders of Hong Kong's anticorruption Occupy Central movement face persistent, ongoing reprisals for their political activity.

Cases of mainland Chinese activists and dissidents targeted by state security agents are well documented. These include arbitrary detention, being followed, having phone and computer communications tapped, and seeing loved ones harassed. In some cases, their children are followed to school and the employers of their spouses are pressured to sack them.

Other leaders of the Occupy movement have also been targeted, the Monitor has found.

Reverend Chu Yiu-ming is so used to telephone harassment that he no longer uses his mobile phone; his church office phone still receive hundreds of nuisance calls. At the start of the Occupy movement, Rev. Chu's son noticed he was being followed and filmed when taking his own child to kindergarten. Footage of the film was later sent to Chu as an implicit threat. Chu’s son also found posters with photos of himself and his parents posted near his home and his church, urging them to “repent.”

Occupy founder Benny Tai, a law professor at Hong Kong University and prominent figure in the protest, says he also receives harassing phone calls and hate letters. One missive contained a razor blade. Several times, protests have been staged outside his house. Banners with hostile messages were hung near his home. His e-mail account has been hacked, and the leaked content picked up and used by his critics, including details of meetings with foreign diplomats and of anonymous donations for the Occupy movement. Hong Kong chief executive C.Y. Leung accused him of colluding with “foreign forces.” Mr. Tai insists that donors were local and that it is normal for scholars to have exchanges with foreigners.

The mother of Joshua Wong, a high-profile Occupy student leader, recently wrote that the family received floral funeral wreaths several times. Her own mobile phone number and the family’s former address were made public on the Internet.

Hong Kong's 'Occupy' leaders now face quiet but persistent harassment [Verna Yu/Christian Science Monitor]

(Image: Umbrella Revolution Umbrella in Causeway Bay, Doctor Ho, CC-BY-SA; Icon: Umbrella Revolution icon 2, Wright, CC-BY-SA)