Tuesday, 21 October 2014

Ex-justice secretary Wong part of expert team who trained students for crunch talks

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Guanyu said...

Ex-justice secretary Wong part of expert team who trained students for crunch talks

Jeffie Lam and Gary Cheung
21 October 2014

Former Justice Secretary Wong Yan-lung and a number of other prominent Hong Kong figures have offered student protest leaders “intensive training” ahead of their talks with government officials that begin at 6pm today, the Post has learned.

Wong, Democratic Party heavyweight Martin Lee Chu-ming SC and a group of constitutional law experts have offered advice from a legal perspective, while Dr Joseph Chan Cho-wai, a former head of the University of Hong Kong’s department of politics, has run through the political arguments.

Occupy Central co-founder Dr Chan Kin-man, an associate professor of sociology at Chinese University, was also part of the training team.

Student leaders will meet senior government officials led by Chief Secretary Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor for the talks which will be broadcast live on a variety of platforms.

The talks follow more than three weeks of street protests instigated by the student leaders, who have called on Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying to resign and for Beijing to allow an open election of the next chief executive.

Alex Chow Yong-kang, secretary general of the Federation of Students, told crowds gathered in Admiralty on Monday night that the five student representatives had held long meetings with scholars ahead of the talks, which will be held at the Hong Kong Academy of Medicine in Aberdeen.

A core leader of the protest sit-in told the Post that more prominent Hong Kong figures, including Chinese University head Professor Joseph Sung Jao-yiu and former Hospital Authority chairman Anthony Wu Ting-yuk, have been acting as middlemen to help organise the talks.

Former secretary Wong and Gloria Chang Wan-ki, ex-president of the HKU students’ union, have also helped to facilitate the talks.

Wu is now a standing committee member of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference.

The Post’s source said Sung – who visited the protesters in Admiralty along with HKU vice-chancellor Dr Peter Mathieson on the night Leung refused to resign – has won the trust of the students.

One of these intermediaries who helped to facilitate the talks said that two key demands of protesters – that the government submits an extra report to Beijing reflecting recent public opinion about democracy, and that an independent committee to examine police use of tear gas be created – had been communicated to senior officials two weeks ago.

“The idea of setting up an independent committee chaired by a judge was put forward by Occupy Central founders. But the government has yet to give a clear answer so far,” the middleman said.

“I note that many proposals I relayed to the government appeared to fall into a black hole when they reached the Chief Executive’s Office,” they added.

Former Democratic Party lawmaker Cheung Man-kwong said that no matter what official name was given to this extra report, it was necessary to reflect Hongkongers’ real hopes for democracy.

“If [the report] was submitted to Beijing, that would [have an] impact on the reform proposal eventually put forward by the government,” Cheung said.