Students refuse closed-door talks with Lam, say it 'must be public'

Updated: Jul 06, 2019, 09:46 IST | Agencies

Student unions from two HK varsities say the meeting should have a much wider representation

Students refuse closed-door talks with Lam, say it 'must be public'
Demonstrators hold banners during a rally organised by mothers in support of extradition law protesters, in Hong Kong on Friday. Pic /AFP

Hong Kong: Student unions from two Hong Kong universities said on Friday that they have turned down invitations from city leader Carrie Lam for talks about recent unrest over her proposal to allow the extradition of suspects to mainland China. The invitations followed a pledge by Lam to do a better job of listening to the voices of young people.

Student leaders said at a news conference that they do not think Lam is being sincere. Her office invited them to closed-door meetings, but the students said any meeting should be public and include a wider representation than just them.

"A closed-door meeting does not have any witnesses to prove what was discussed, the public does not know what the dialogue was about," said Jordan Pang from the University of Hong Kong Students' Union. "The public has the right to know."

Ng Yat Ming, vice-president of Hong Kong University of Science and Technology Students' Union, said they would be condemned as traitors if they negotiated with Lam on behalf of the public. "We believe it is a PR stunt," he said.

Young people have taken the lead in protesting against the extradition legislation, which many see as a threat to the rights guaranteed to Hong Kong under the "one country, two systems" framework that governs the Chinese territory.

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A Hong Kong street artist was charged with assaulting a cop and criminal damage, the first prosecution against an anti-government protester since the city was rocked by unprecedented demonstrations. Sparked by a law that would have allowed extraditions to mainland China, the city has witnessed three huge peaceful rallies as well as violence from a hard core group of younger protesters who on Monday stormed and ransacked the city's parliament.

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