Hong Kong Protesters Mull Beijing Trip to Seek TalksVinicy Chan
Hong Kong protesters said they may attempt to visit Beijing next week to seek talks with China’s top leaders while the nation plays host to a global summit whose attendees will include U.S. President Barack Obama.
“We’re not sure if we will be allowed to get in,” Alex Chow, secretary-general of Hong Kong Federation of Students, said at a rally yesterday evening, as shown by Hong Kong Cable Television. Chow said he and fellow protesters will discuss the plan in the next few days.
The students are seeking to go further to press their case for democracy after making little progress in talks with city officials during five weeks of protests that have paralyzed major roads in three of the city’s most populated districts. The most recent round of negotiations, on Oct. 21, didn’t yield an immediate solution.
Leaders of the pro-democracy movement on Oct. 28 set conditions to resume talks with the government, including a request to submit a report to China reflecting the protesters’ demand for free elections in the city.
Demonstrators took to the streets last month after China decided on Aug. 31 to vet candidates for city chief through a nomination committee, angering activists who say the ruling favors pro-Beijing politicians.
The Hong Kong government says the Basic Law, the city’s constitution, requires a 1,200-person committee to screen candidates. Officials have said there may be some flexibility in how the members of the committee are picked.
The student leaders’ possible trip may come as China steps up security, shuts factories and gives Beijing residents a previously unscheduled holiday as it hosts global leaders at the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation forum, which is scheduled to start on Nov. 5 and end on Nov. 11.
Chow’s Hong Kong Federation of Students is one of the three main protest groups, along with Joshua Wong’s Scholarism and Benny Tai’s Occupy Central With Love and Peace.
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