Hong Kong chief executive invites student leaders for meeting amid lingering protests against proposed amendments to law

By Riyaz ul Khaliq

The students of two universities in Hong Kong said Friday they are likely to accept an offer to meet Chief Executive Carrie Lam if she is open to discuss their longstanding demands.

Addressing a news conference earlier today, the student leaders of these universities told a news conference broadcast live: “We do not represent all protesters… [there is a] need to include different representatives from every section.”

Hong Kong has eight public universities. The Lam government has invited student leaders of the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology and the Chinese University of Hong Kong.

“If the two demands are met, probably we will meet the Carrie Lam government,” one of the representatives said.

The vibrant financial hub has been riddled with protests since April against a proposed extradition law which will allow suspects to be extradited to mainland China, Macao and Taiwan, a move rights activists claim will target political freedom. The autonomous region is partly ruled by China.

Angeline Chan of Hong Kong Progressive Lawyers Group (PLG), one of the protesting groups, told Anadolu Agency by phone from Hong Kong: “The students rejected the closed-door meeting offer made by Lam last evening. The students have instead sought an open-to-public meeting besides meeting demands of protestors.”

Chan said that the protesters are demanding complete roll back of proposed amendments to a current extradition law. Hong Kong has extradition agreements with the U.S., the U.K. and New Zealand among 20 other nations.

“The protesters have sought the dropping of protests as riots by [Hong Kong] police besides an independent commission to probe the use of force by police,” she said. 

The Lam government has indefinitely postponed a second reading of the proposed bill after millions of people turned out against any such move.

Last Monday, when Hong Kong observed the 22nd anniversary of handover to China, masked protesters barged into the Hong Kong Legislative Council.

At least 13 persons have been arrested since then.

Chan said that new protests are being planned for Friday evening and Sunday.

“The Sunday protest will be unusual as it is being mobilized by an anonymous group and from a different place which will eventually end at Guangzhou–Shenzhen–Hong Kong Express Rail Link (XRL),” she said.

XRL connects Hong Kong to Beijing through a network of railway lines and the area comes under Chinese laws.

(Article originally appeared in Anadolu Agency on 5 July 2019)