MOSCOW, October 21 (RIA Novosti) - Talks are currently under way between Hong Kong officials and the leaders of the Occupy Central protest movement, which has shaken this Special Administrative Region of China, Reuters reports.
The government of Hong Kong has sent Chief Secretary Carrie Lam to reason with the leaders of the student political movement. Lam has recognized the need to hear out the protesters’ demands, but noted that “no matter how high the ideals, they must strive for them through legal, appropriate and rational means,” Reuters said.
For their part, the students have demanded that the government present a roadmap for the expansion of democratic options for the upcoming 2017 elections.
Speaking before the press several hours before the meeting, Leung Chun-ying, the head of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, noted that a “more democratic" nominating committee for the 2017 elections is possible, noting that “there’s room for discussion there,” according to Reuters.
Leung also noted that the Region’s security forces would not use force to remove protesters while negotiations continued, and that he has not had any “instructions” from Beijing in this regard.
The talks follow several weeks of protests and clashes which have left dozens injured over the weekend, including 22 police officers.
The Occupy Central with Love and Peace protests began on September 27 when demonstrators spoke out against the Chinese government's plans to screen candidates ahead of the 2017 election. Protestors are not happy about the 1,200 person nominating committee approving candidates via a majority vote, which they decry as “fake” democracy. The protesters claim that Beijing has gone back on its promise of more autonomy to the region, which was handed back to China from Britain in 1997.