Date
17 August 2017
The dialogue presents an opportunity for the students to reiterate to the Hong Kong community the reasons that pushed them to occupy the streets. Photo: AFP
The dialogue presents an opportunity for the students to reiterate to the Hong Kong community the reasons that pushed them to occupy the streets. Photo: AFP

Consensus may be elusive in govt-student dialogue

A consensus will not be easy to reach in the first round of talks between the Hong Kong government and the student leaders over the issue of universal suffrage, Sing Tao Daily reported on Tuesday.

Representatives of the Hong Kong Federation of Students (HKFS) are expected to ask the government to submit to Beijing a supplementary report on political reform, which will include the call of pan-democratic groups for public nomination of candidates to the 2017 chief executive election, but it will be impossible for the government to do so under the framework issued by the National People’s Congress, which has already decided on a nominating committee to vet the candidates.

However, it is still possible to submit such a report to the Hong Kong and Macao Affairs Office, according to a government source.

Alex Chow, secretary general of the HKFS, will lead four other student representatives to meet with five government officials led by Chief Secretary Carrie Lam at  the Hong Kong Academy of Medicine in Wong Chuk Hang at 6 p.m. Tuesday.

The dialogue, which will be hosted by Lingnan University Vice Chancellor Leonard Cheng, is set for two hours, including 90 minutes of free discussions, and will be broadcast live.

Lau Kong-wah, Undersecretary for Constitutional and Mainland Affairs Bureau and one of the government representatives, said both sides have sincere intentions to push through with the dialogue, and multiple rounds will be held as the government values the opportunity to comunicate with the students.

The discussions may be heated but the government hopes the student representatives will not walk out, the report said.

Chow said they will try to force the government to face up to public opinion. He also pledged that they will not give up or compromise, though their efforts may end up in vain.

Joshua Wong, convenor of Scholarism, said he and the three convenors of the Occupy Central movement will be at the venue to observe the proceedings.

He said the dialogue presents a good chance for the students to reiterate to the Hong Kong community the reasons that pushed them to stage protests, and belie allegations that they are a foreign-funded movement or some kind of “color revolution” that seeks to challenge Beijing.

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