While student leaders criticized the government for not meeting their demand for universal suffrage and vowed to continue street occupation, Chief Secretary Carrie Lam seemed to know that she has to do more.
Lam on Wednesday contacted the middleman who brokered the talks with students on Tuesday, saying the government is expecting the students’ response to its political reform proposals and she hopes to have further discussions over how to realize them, Ming Pao Daily reported Thursday, citing an unnamed source.
During the talks to resolve the street stand-off, the government proposed four initiatives:
- room to maneuver, under the framework set by Beijing, on the nomination process for the 2017 chief executive election;
- the 2017 election is not the final form to choose Hong Kong’s leader and could be improved in the future;
- building a public engagement platform for the post-2017 election arrangement;
- submitting a supplementary report on public opinions to the Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office.
Alex Chow, secretary general of the Hong Kong Federation of Students (HKFS), said the proposed platform is nothing more than an empty shell as the government did not elaborate on how it will function. He said that there should be more scholars and politicians involved besides students if there is another round of talks.
The government should set a clear blueprint and a roadmap on how to include public nomination in the election framework step by step if that could not be done at the moment, or it is hard to persuade the occupiers to retreat, he said.
Joshua Wong, convenor of another student group Scholarism, said the government should let citizens know as soon as possible how to form the platform and how it will write the supplementary report. He said he has no intention to join the platform which targets political reform only after 2017.
While Chow said that submitting such a report to the Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office is only “half a step” made by the government, the move was in fact decided last week and should not be deemed as a concession by the government, Apple Daily reported, citing a government source.
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