By Dow Jones
On Monday, police used pepper spray against some activists, saying they had tried to force barricades outside a venue where a Beijing official was speaking. "Occupy Central has been trying hard to distinguish themselves from the radical activists, which might diverge energy from pushing the campaign to a higher ground," said Nelson Lee, who teaches politics at the Chinese University of Hong Kong. Mr.
The indication of slowing momentum less than two days after Beijing's decision appeared to have been a reality check for a movement that has tried to rally a city famously focused on stability and the bottom line for its businesses. "Many people in Hong Kong are being pragmatic," he said.
A co-founder of the activist group at the center of threats to paralyze Hong Kong's business district with anti-Beijing protests adopted a somber tone on Tuesday, saying its goal of securing a representative voting system in the city was "close to failure.
Fian Poon, a student at Hong Kong Baptist University, said many people in Hong Kong only focus on the potential disruption from protests. "But what's more important is the campaign has helped implant the idea of fighting for democracy among Hong Kong people.
The group had led a pro-democracy charge demanding popular input on candidates in Hong Kong's next elections. "Our goal to achieve genuine universal suffrage in 2017 and a reform of the system is close to failure," said Mr. Chan.
Occupy Central and other pro-democracy activists in Hong Kong held a smaller-scale rally on Sunday, after China announced that candidates running for Hong Kong's top post must get backing from at least half of a nominating committee filled with Beijing loyalists.
But he conceded that goal posts had shifted. "Now is a moment of awakening and we realize that major change of the system in the coming eight to 10 years isn't likely. " He said that for the longer term it was important to protect Hong Kong's special status under the "one country, two systems" formula. "We need to sustain our civil society.
Read more here: Business Spectator