POLITICS
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Occupy Central

Student, Occupy leaders announce vote on government’s reform proposals

Democratic exercise will ask whether students' federation should accept the government's offers

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 23 October, 2014, 11:26pm
UPDATED : Monday, 03 October, 2016, 5:52pm

Protesters in "Umbrella Plaza", Admiralty, will be polled on whether student leaders should accept the government's offers made at talks on Tuesday on ending nearly a month of sit-ins.

Student leaders and Occupy Central organisers said the poll would be held on Sunday.

One of Hong Kong's most respected pan-democrat politicians, and an academic close to student leaders, urged them to take seriously the government's offers to submit a report to the State Council's Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office on sentiments expressed during the protests and to set up a platform for dialogue on constitutional development.

The founding chairman of the Democratic Party, Martin Lee Chu-ming, and Chinese University political scientist Ivan Choy Chi-keung said the students should keep an open mind on engaging in more talks with officials.

In August, the National People's Congress Standing Committee set strict limits on the 2017 chief executive election and 2016 Legislative Council election.

The Federation of Students has rejected the government's offers, saying the report should have some influence on the Standing Committee's decision and that the dialogue must address elections in 2016 and 2017.

Occupy Central co-founder Benny Tai Yiu-ting said they hoped to get a stronger endorsement from the people through Sunday's poll, which will be conducted in Admiralty from 8pm to 11pm. People will be asked whether they support the federation's stance.

The head of the Federation of Students, Alex Chow Yong-kang, said: "The vote can quantify the people's demand that the government give us a real response."

Protesters said that while the vote would be a democratic exercise, it should be the government that offers a solution.

Lee said: "Beijing and the Hong Kong government shut the door to dialogue with students in the past.

"Now there is a crack between the door and its frame. Why don't we put a foot there and see what we can get?"

And Choy said: "It's unrealistic to expect the deadlock to be resolved through one meeting."

Meanwhile, the United Nations Human Rights Committee is writing to the Hong Kong government urging it to protect "the right to stand for elections" in achieving universal and equal suffrage.

A commentary by a People's Daily commentator, published on the front page of the newspaper yesterday, criticised student leaders for demanding amendments to the Basic Law and reversal of the Standing Committee's decision.

Additional reporting by Danny Mok and Ernest Kao