Scholarism wants dialogue on reform with influential politicians

Scholarism wants dialogue on reform with influential politicians

After the failure of Occupy to bring about change, student group turns to dialogue in search of politicians who will support the city's youth

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Oscar Lai and Joshua Wong want to open a dialogue on reform with politicians.
Oscar Lai and Joshua Wong want to open a dialogue on reform with politicians.
Photo: David Wong/SCMP

Student group Scholarism on Sunday invited four of the city’s political figures for an “open dialogue” on political reform.

In four open letters issued to former chief secretary Henry Tang Ying-yen, former financial secretary Antony Leung Kam-chung, Executive Council convenor Lam Woon-kwong and fellow Exco member Bernard Chan, Scholarism said the current administration has “turned a deaf ear” to their calls for debate on the issue.

The government is expected to launch the second-phase consultation on the reform this week.

The four influential politicians on the invitation list had all publicly shown that they care for the city’s youth, said Scholarism spokesman  Oscar Lai Man-lok. He hopes that they can “tell the government what the youth think”.

The talks – if they go ahead – might touch on ways to relaunch the consultation process to better reflect Hongkongers’ views, the group said.

Pan-democratic lawmakers have already vowed to boycott the government consultations and veto universal suffrage if Beijing insists on using a nominating committee in its current form to select candidates for the 2017 chief executive elections.

While Scholarism rejected further consultations under the same conditions, its leader Joshua Wong Chi-fung said there was no plan to stage another civil disobedience campaign on the scale of Occupy, which saw thousands of protesters take to the streets and clash with police last year.

Instead, the latest appeal for talks aimed to resolve political disputes, he said.

“[Chief Executive] Leung Chun-ying has failed to fulfil his basic political duty to talk to us, and that’s why we have to issue this open letter to invite other influential politicians for a negotiation,” Wong said.

Without rejecting the students’ request outright, Tang – an outspoken critic of Leung – said he would find out more about the next round of consultation “before deciding what to do next”. Lam declined to comment while the other two politicians have yet to respond.

In a separate development, HKFS’s general secretary Eason Chung Yiu-wa was temporarily banned from boarding a Cathay Pacific flight in Taiwan. Posting on Facebook, Chung said that when a Cathay staff member scanned his boarding pass, it displayed a message saying: “unable to board”. He overheard the staff member saying the word “blacklist” on the phone.

When asked for more information, the staff member responded that it was government information. Chung asked if this referred to the Hong Kong government and the staff member confirmed that it did.

He was ultimately allowed to board and the airline apologised “for any inconvenience caused to Mr Chung”. It added that it was unable to “comment on individual cases”. 

This article appeared in the Young Post print edition as
Scholarism: it's time to talk

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