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HK authorities to meet with protesters

2014-10-20 08:44 Global Times Web Editor: Qian Ruisha

Leung says Beijing has confidence in his ability to tackle the situation

Hong Kong officials and pan-democracy protest leaders are scheduled to hold formal talks on Tuesday, with both sides hoping to defuse the escalating political tension after a series of violent clashes erupted in Mongkok, where protests are ongoing.

The anti-Occupy Blue Ribbon Movement, told the Global Times on Sunday that they are pessimistic about the outcome of the talks but will not take any further action until Saturday, in honor of the efforts made by the government and the student protesters.

"From day one of the Occupy movement, the government has been unable to give the students what they want. It is impossible for anyone to compromise. These talks have shown that the government is showing great kindness and toleration towards the students as it is still willing to listen to them and discuss these matters," said Leticia Lee See-yin, one of the co-founders of the Blue Ribbon Movement.

The Chief Secretary of Hong Kong, Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor, announced Saturday that government officials will meet with representatives of the Student Federation at the Hong Kong Academy of Medicine in Wong Chuk Hang on Tuesday. Each side will send five people to attend the talks, which are scheduled to last for approximately two hours.

The government's representatives will include Secretary for Justice Rimsky Yuen Kwok-keung and Secretary for Constitutional and Mainland Affairs Raymond Tam Chi-yuen.

Lingnan University President Leonard Cheng Kwok-hon will mediate the talks. Prior to the previous talks, which were cancelled, protest leaders said they were against mediation.

"We are very sincere about these talks. But I must emphasize that discussion of political reform must be based on the Basic Law and the decisions of the National People's Congress," Lam said.

However, Lester Shum, vice secretary of the Hong Kong Federation of Students, said they will continue their pursuit of an open nomination process for the elections for the city's next Chief Executive in 2017.

The talks will be open to the media and broadcast live on television.

On Sunday morning, fresh violence broke out between protesters and police in Mongkok, one of the three protest sites. Pepper spray was deployed by police to disperse protesters. Four people were arrested for common assault and at least four more were injured.

Also on Sunday, Hong Kong Chief Executive CY Leung said that China's central authorities are fully aware of the situation in Hong Kong and have expressed confidence in his and the Hong Kong government's ability to tackle the Occupy Central movement.

In a television interview, Leung said the central government has expressed serious concerns over Hong Kong, and that it is fully aware of what is happening in the city and the reasons behind the events.

He also claimed that the Occupy Central movement is not entirely a domestic movement, as external forces are involved.

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