Date
18 August 2017
Student leaders said the government should not attempt to force the protesters to abandon their barricades. Photo: Reuters
Student leaders said the government should not attempt to force the protesters to abandon their barricades. Photo: Reuters

Govt, students set ground rules for talks this week

Government officials and student leaders of the pro-democracy protests will hold public discussions on political reform starting this week after establishing broad principles for the dialogue.

Representatives of the Hong Kong Federation of Students (HKFS) and government officials led by Undersecretary for Constitutional and Mainland Affairs Lau Kong-wah have agreed to hold several sessions for the dialogue, that direct and mutual respect will be observed during the process, and that the government will implement any consensus reached, Ming Pao Daily reported Tuesday.

The two sides held a preliminary meeting on Sunday, reached a consensus on the basic principles to govern the discussions on Monday, and will finalize details of the dialogue, including the agenda and venue of the meetings, today.

Lester Shum, HKFS deputy secretary-general, said the dialogue should not be conducted under the electoral reform framework set by Beijing for the 2017 chief executive election.

The students also insisted that government should not attempt to force the protesters to abandon their positions in Admiralty, Mong Kok and Causeway Bay, which they have occupied since Sept. 28.

Police should only deal with those resorting to violence rather than suppress the pro-democracy activists.

As to whether other organizers of the Occupy civil disobedience campaign will join the dialogue, Shum said more discussions with the different groups are needed.

Benny Tai, one of the convenors of the original Occupy Central movement, said he hoped the discussions would lead to quick government response to the protesters’ demands.

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TL/AC/CG

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