Hong Kong government calls off Friday talks with Occupy Central reps

  • Sutirtho Patranobis, Hindustan Times, Beijing
  • Updated: Oct 09, 2014 23:58 IST

The Hong Kong government on Thursday evening called off talks with Occupy Central representatives scheduled for Friday, alleging that the protesting students had mobilised more students to join the ongoing protests.

The student leaders had undermined the understanding city government representative Carrie Lam told a press conference in Hong Kong. It would be impossible to have a constructive dialogue on Friday as the very basis of the first formal talks had been violated, Lam said.

Thousands of students and Hong Kong residents have been protesting for about two weeks now against Beijing’s decision to water down the promise of direct voting to elect the city’s leader, known formally as the chief executive.

The number of protesters had dwindled over the last few days as the city limped back to normalcy after days of a literal shut down that affected trade, business and government functioning.

“After more than week-long demonstration which had paralysed partial transport in the Asian financial hub, tensions had been reduced between the government and students who were discontent with an election reform package for choosing Hong Kong's next chief executive by universal suffrage,” China’s official news agency, Xinhua reported late on Thursday night.

“The government has shown many good faith, and both sides should show good faith,” Lam said, blaming the student leaders for using protestors as a leverage to negotiate.

“The government could not accept using the chance of opening talks to incite more people to join the Occupy Central movement which had illegally blocked roads and brought negative impact on other citizens' daily lives,” the Xinhua report said.

State media has more or less blocked out reports on the protests only allowing critical opinion pieces against the agitation to be carried through its outlets.

Last week the Communist Party of China’s official mouthpiece, People’s Daily warned the protesters of “unimaginable consequences” if the agitation carried on.

The Xinhua reported added that Hong Kong Federation of Students, a major organiser behind the movement, issued a letter on October 2, calling for dialogues “with the government with no claim to overturn the election reform framework set by China's top legislature”.

But leaders of the federation had reclaimed in recent two days to overturn the election reform framework and asked for “civil nomination” in nominating chief executive candidates for a universal suffrage which is not an option in line with Hong Kong's constitution known as the Basic Law.

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