Hong Kong Lawmaker: Occupy Central Protesters’ Use of Twitter, Google Maps Evidence of ‘Foreign Interference’

November 1, 2014 Updated: November 1, 2014

Occupy Central protesters’ extensive use of social media to get organized is a clear sign that the movement has been compromised by outside forces, a Hong Kong legislator claims.

At a Legislative Council meeting on Thursday, Oct. 30, Executive Council member Regina Ip Lau Suk-yee said that the Occupy Central pro-democracy protesters are frequently utilizing smartphone apps to organize, plan, and prepare their activities, Hong Kong publications Apple Daily and Ming Pao report.


Ms. Ip specifically singled out Twitter, Google Maps, Firechat, Telegram and Zello Walkie Talkie as the apps most used by the student activists to communicate among themselves.

To justify the use of these apps as evidence of foreign interference, Ms. Ip said that Zello Walkie Talkie was used in Taiwan’s Sunflower Student Movement and the Ukraine Orange Revolution. Both student movements allegedly received assistance from external parties.

Netizens have since mocked Ms. Ip for that comment. A number of them asked “what century is Ms. Ip stuck in?” while some suggest that Ms. Ip’s pro-Beijing New People’s Party must be using carrier pigeons, telegrams, moon cakes with notes smuggled inside (a method supposedly used by Ming dynasty revolutionaries to pass on intelligence), and other antiquated methods to communicate amongst themselves.

Others also “wonder” if Ms. Ip is herself being backed by external forces as she has an active Facebook account where she regularly shares her thoughts, and probably uses a smartphone made by a “foreign power.”

In fairness, Ms. Ip does raise some points with regard to “foreign interference” — a buzzword for anti-Occupy supporters ever since Beijing suggested it at the start of the protests — that are not as tenuous as her “social media” argument.

Ms. Ip questioned how pro-democracy supporters get their provisions.

“There have been plenty of supplies to protesters,” Ms. Ip said. 

“The water may be bought by themselves, but how about the barricades made of bamboo sticks and the cement?

“Who brought them in and made it?”

Ms. Ip also suggested that the Taiwan Independence movement could be influencing the Umbrella Movement as some of their members were invited by the Occupy Central protesters to give a talk about the Sunflower Student Movement that took place in Taiwan earlier in the year.