Hong Kong protesters, government to begin negotiations

KONFRONTASI - Protest leaders in Hong Kong are to sit down for talks with the local government amid continuing demonstrations against an election law.

The negotiations will begin at 6:00 p.m. local time (1000 GMT) on Tuesday and will be broadcast live.

Hong Kong’s Chief Secretary for Administration Carrie Lam will represent the local government in the talks with protest leaders.

Protesters want the public to have a say in who can run for future elections and are opposed to an election law introduced by China. Authorities both in Beijing and Hong Kong have dismissed the protesters’ demand.

Under the law, Hong Kongers will have to elect their next leader from a list of Beijing-vetted candidates in 2017.

Meanwhile, Hong Kong’s Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying said the make-up of the nomination committee is negotiable in the talks.

“There could be a compromise, somewhere in between, by making the nomination committee more acceptable to these students.”

Leung noted that open elections would result in populist policies, stressing, however, that the government officials will pay attention to the protesters’ views.

Over the past weeks, Hong Kong has been the scene of protests against the election law. The demonstrators, who have blocked key parts of the city for more than 3 weeks, say they will not leave protest camps until their demands are met.

Hong Kong is a special administrative region of China. The financial hub has enjoyed substantial political autonomy since 1997, when its leadership returned to China after about a century of British colonial rule.[presstv]