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He is frustrated when the Democratic Party is constantly attacked and says the dispute between radical democrats and moderate democrats weakens the overall bargaining power of the camp.

However, outspoken social activist Wong Yeung-tat disagrees. Wong who narrowly missed out on a LegCo seat in the 2012 election as a candidate for People Power, went after the Democratic Party during his campaign.

“Democratic Party believes political reform can only be realised with Beijing’s consent… But Beijing’ definition of universal suffrage clashes with ours,” Wong says.

The former screenwriter says the “betrayal” of the Democratic Party is what motivated him to take part in politics. In two years he has become a distinct political icon due to his frank and populist style.

The chairperson of the Civic Party and former legislator, Audrey Eu Yuet-mee, says disputes between political parties are very natural, “We all believe in democracy and different ways to attain it… What I hope to see is that we respect each other.”

Eu says the journey to political reform is strenuous and that after all these years, some people give in and others resort to extreme means.

As a barrister, Eu is cautious about civil disobedience. She says people must have overwhelming support for it and a thorough understanding of it before it should be undertaken. She warns that it is hard to build up public opinion as Hong Kong’s aspirations for democracy have been constantly let down.

“It is hard to relight the spirit… When I ran for the 2000 election, I really thought there would be universal suffrage in 2006 and 2007. We are disappointed again and again,” Eu says.

“But articles like Tai’s is crucial, as people will recall it when the time finally comes.”

Sitting in his university office, filled with law books and tomes on democratic theory, the softly spoken scholar has stepped out of his ivory tower and is willing to take his place on the street.

“I am not a politician. I have no intention of being a politician. But I have a democracy dream… I think a lot of Hong Kong people share the dream. And I have dreamt the dream for 30 years,” says Tai.

A few weeks after Fast Beat and Long Hair were arrested, another protest is taking place on the streets of Central. The protesters are singing the song Do You Hear the People Sing? from the hit musical Les Miserables. The question is, with whom will the people stand, Jean Valjean the virtuous convict of the story or Javert the police officer who strictly follows the law of authoritarian rule?

Edited by Rene Lam