Hong Kong students reject talks with government

Students at the Chinese University of Hong Kong, another of the eight higher education institutions, were also invited but have not yet decided, a source at the student union there said. They want her to completely withdraw the extradition bill that would send suspects in Hong Kong to the mainland for trial. "We are simply saying that we also have an agreement with the People's Republic of China, and we would expect that to be honoured".

"If she really had sincerity, she would lay it all out and speak publicly to the whole world, to all of Hong Kong", Lai Wai Chun, Provisional President of the student union at the University of Science and Technology, said, echoing a post on the union's Facebook page explaining why it had refused the meeting.

Thousands of protesters paralysed central Hong Kong by blocking major roads in a defiant show of strength against government plans to allow extraditions to China.

The invitations followed a pledge by Ms Lam to do a better job of listening to the voices of young people.

"Don't feel lonely, dad and mum will support you", read one of many handwritten messages held aloft at a "Hong Kong Mothers" rally Friday.

Lam's spokeswoman said the meeting would be held in a "small-scale and closed-door manner" to ensure an "in-depth and frank exchange of views".

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

"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.

"We want to ask if the government sincerely wants to communicate with young people or if it's just another political PR show".

Lam, who was appointed as Hong Kong's leader by a committee dominated by pro-Beijing elites, suspended the legislation after more than a million Hong Kongers marched against it on June 9 and then a June 12 protest blocked access to the legislature and nearby streets.

Students have echoed opposition calls in recent weeks for the withdrawal of the extradition bill, for Lam to step down and for an investigation into complaints of police brutality.

Hong Kong returned to China under a "one country, two systems" formula that allows freedoms not enjoyed in mainland China, including freedom to protest and a much-cherished independent judiciary.

Tensions have escalated since it was introduced, sparking large-scale protests.

But many city residents recent what they see as increasing meddling by the mainland and the erosion of freedoms.

  • Jon Douglas