Hong Kong students seek direct negotiations with Chinese PM

Posted By: IANS
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Hong Kong students seek direct negotiations with Chinese PM
Hong Kong, Oct 29: The Federation of Students of Hong Kong, one of the main groups carrying out pro-democracy protests, has asked the local government for direct talks with Chinese Prime Minister Li Keqiang, state broadcaster RTHK reported Wednesday.

Disappointed by last week's dialogue with Hong Kong government representatives, led by Chief Secretary Carrie Lam, the students said in a statement that they were hoping that Hong Kong's executive would organise a meeting with Prime Minister Li Keqiang for them.

The federation, led by Alex Chow, argues that in the talks of Oct 21, Lam told them that changing the electoral system of the former British colony was not in the hands of the local government.

The current system, approved by the National People's Congress (NPC) in August, allows citizens to vote directly for candidates in 2017 but only for pre-approved ones.

During the negotiations, Lam offered to send a report to Beijing explaining the objection of some sectors of the society to that decision.

In the statement made public Wednesday, the students said the report should necessarily include a proposal for the withdrawal of the NPC decision.

With regard to Lam's other offer for the creation of a permanent negotiating platform for local political reforms, the federation is demanding discussion on an agenda to abolish the new system of the election of legislators and local leaders.

In the event of the local government being unable to fulfill these two preliminary demands, the students and the other protesting groups would prefer to talk directly with Li and with the Hong Kong and Macao Affairs Office of the State Council.

That agency promotes ties between Beijing and the special administrative regions which enjoy relative autonomy, the statement read.

The pro-democracy movement in Hong Kong started with the occupation of the city's main streets just over a month ago, demanding the democratisation of the local political system.


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