'Star tutors' guide student leaders ahead of govt talks

October 21, 2014 16:53
Martin Lee (L); Wong Yan-lung (center) and Professor Joseph Chan (R) are among those who are said to have offered guidance to the student leaders holding talks with government officials in Hong Kong.

Several lawyers and scholars are said to have provided advice to the five student representatives who will be holding talks with government officials Tuesday evening.

The experts who counseled on political reform issues include Martin Lee Chu-ming, a veteran lawyer and former legislator; and Wong Yan-lung, former second Secretary for Justice, Ming Pao Daily reported. Professor Joseph Chan of the University of Hong Kong is also among those who offered guidance to the student leaders, according to the paper.

Pan-democratic lawmakers, meanwhile, urged students to learn from the discussions held by Wu’erkaixi and then-Chinese premier Li Peng amid the 1989 Tiananmen student protests in Beijing.

Wu’erkaixi, the famous Chinese dissident, famously interrupted Li during an encounter in May 1989, saying: "I understand it is quite rude of me to interrupt you, Premier, but there are people sitting out there in the square, being hungry, as we sit here and exchange pleasantries. We are only here to discuss concrete matters, sir." 

Thereafter, the conversation with Li eventually went nowhere.

"The dialogue is only the start," pan-democrats reminded the students, adding that the Hong Kong Federation of Students should not leave the scene immediately after the dialogue. Instead, they should try to create an atmosphere to mitigate the political standoff, they said.

"The students can talk candidly with government officials, but they have to stay calm," a source from the pan-democratic camp was quoted as saying.

Student leaders and senior government officials will be given 90 minutes to debate political reform during the talks Tuesday.

The discussions come more than three weeks after pro-democracy protesters started occupying key roads across Hong Kong.

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Freelance journalist