Students, officials split over Friday meeting agenda

October 08, 2014 19:19
Student leader Chong Yiu-wa (left) and Lau Kong-wah, undersecretary of the Constitutional and Mainland Affairs Bureau, have different versions of events during the preparatory meeting. Photo: EJ Insight

Planned talks between student protesters and government officials are looking increasingly testy, with the two sides unable to agree on the agenda.

The meeting is scheduled to take place on Friday and will focus on the 2017 chief executive election, according to Lau Kong-wah, an undersecretary in the Constitutional and Mainland Affairs Bureau and a member of a panel preparing for the talks.

Chung Yiu-wa, a leader of the Hong Kong Federation of Students, said they are "angry and disappointed" that the scope of the talks would probably be limited,  public broadcaster RTHK reported.

“We hope the government will bring up solutions to tackle the political crisis, rather than ignoring demands for genuine universal suffrage," he said.

“The government is only interested in picking our brains. They have failed to respond to our demands. We are very disappointed.”

He said Lau did not mention any criticism about the election framework when he gave a press conference.

Chief Secretary Carrie Lam and Constitutional and Mainland Affairs chief Raymond Tam should be made aware of these concerns, Chung said.

Both are expected to take part in the talks.

Chung urged senior government officials to present concrete measures on Friday, saying the students have already shown their sincerity.

"The ball is in their court.”

Meanwhile, Lau said student representatives at the preparatory meeting did not object to the government's proposed agenda.

He said their complaints could have been meant to instigate further protests and were not helping create a conducive environment for Friday's talks.

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Freelance journalist