Talks end, no breakthrough

THE two-hour meeting on Tuesday between student protesters and the government was a good start but did not yield any concrete results.

Lingnan University (嶺南大學) president Leonard Cheng Kwok-hon (鄭國漢), the moderator, did not have to intervene during the talks. Chief Secretary for Administration (政務司司長) Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor (林鄭月娥) and Hong Kong Federation of Students (HKFS, 學聯) leader Alex Chow Yong-kang (周永康) each gave five-minute opening remarks at the Hong Kong Academy of Medicine in Aberdeen (香港醫學專科學院).

For the next 90 minutes, each side alternately had three to five minutes to expound on their views and ask questions. The media was not allowed to raise questions during the talks, which were aired live.

Lam said she hoped the talks would be the first of several. But she conceded, “As far as their position is concerned, I’m afraid we can only agree to disagree.” The students’ response could be seen during the talks when frustration began to mount and an hour and 45 minutes later. They said young people had made enough concessions in their efforts for “equal and basic political rights”.

Cheng said he believed both sides sincerely wanted to talk.

Lam’s team includes Secretary for Justice (律政司司長) Rimsky Yuen Kwok-keung (袁國強), Secretary for Constitutional and Mainland Affairs (政制及內地事務局局長) Raymond Tam Chi-yuen (譚志源), Tam’s undersecretary Lau Kong-wah (劉江華), and Chief Executive Office (特首辦) director Edward Yau Tang-wah (邱騰華).

For Chow, it was HKFS deputy Lester Shum (岑敖暉), general secretary Eason Chung Yiu-wa (鍾耀華) and council members Nathan Law Kwun-chung (羅冠聰) and Yvonne Leung Lai-kwok (梁麗幗).

Chow said on Monday night at the Harcourt Road (夏.道) protest zone that they would not give up their principles on political reform.

Occupy Central (佔領中環) co-organiser Chan Kin-man (陳健民) said demonstrators may leave the protest zones if the results of the talks are satisfactory.

Meanwhile, the High Court (高等法院) granted temporary injunctions until Friday to three applicants including CITIC Tower (中信大廈) that bar protesters from blocking roads in Mong Kok (旺角) and Admiralty (金鐘).

(The Standard, Eddie Luk and Kenneth Lau, 21 October, 2014)