Pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong agree to talk with the government
The pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong which brought tens of thousands of people to the streets last week have now dwindled down to a few hundred after activist leaders agreed to negotiate with government officials, negotiations which are likely to go nowhere.
Last week the streets of Hong Kong were the site of clashes between student-led protesters calling for universal suffrage and local police officers. Now the protests have calmed down significantly and have dwindled in size, especially after violent scuffles broke out between the demonstrators and pro-Beijing opponents over the weekend.
The negotiations, which will be held on Friday, will focus on “the basis for political development,” according to government officials, referring to plans for a 2017 election of the chief executive, the leader of Hong Kong. However, it’s as of yet unclear how these discussions will work when the two groups have such differing positions.
“The lack of room for the government to back away from China’s decision will make it difficult for the government to satisfy the student leaders’ requested demands,” Citi Group said in a research note.
Hong Kong and its neighbor Macau are unique in that, despite being ruled by the Chinese government, they’re able to exercise a high degree of autonomy and freedom that isn’t enjoyed by areas on the mainland, with universal suffrage being an eventual goal. This is known as the “one country, two systems” formula.
However, the Chinese government has been trying to tighten its hold on the city, ruling on August 31st that candidates who wanted to run for Hong Kong’s top position must first be approved by Beijing, a move which democracy activists say would render the idea of universal suffrage meaningless, and is what sparked the protests.
Read more about the story at CNN.