Hong Kong student leaders began talks with government officials on Wednesday evening to end the three-week long pro-democracy protests in the region, according to media reports. The protesters are represented at the talks by members of the Hong Kong Federation of Students -- the largest student organization in Hong Kong.
The government team is reportedly being led by the city's most senior civil servant, Chief Secretary Carrie Lam. The talks are being broadcast live, as demanded by the protesters, at several demonstration sites in the city, according to media reports. Just hours before the talks were scheduled to begin, Hong Kong’s Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying gave an indication of a possible concession from the administration, according to media reports.
He reportedly said that the nominating panel, which will pick the candidates for the elections in 2017, could be made “more democratic.”
“There is room for discussion there,” he reportedly said. “There could be a compromise, somewhere in between, by making the nomination committee more acceptable to these students.”
He also added that the government is ready to listen to what the protesters have to say with the “greatest sincerity,” according to media reports. “We all realize that the first meeting cannot solve all the problems. But it is a good start to have a dialogue.”
Meanwhile, protests have reportedly continued in key parts of the city. Although authorities have declared the demonstrations to be illegal, they have allowed the protesters to remain, despite several crackdowns in recent days.