The government has launched a public consultation for the 2019 policy address, inviting Hongkongers to give their views on what the government should do for the following year.
The policy address is a yearly briefing given to the Legislative Council and the public on the work of the government for the coming year, and new projects.
Last year, the policy address included a section on connecting with young people. The public consultation does not have an age limit, making it one of the ways students not old enough to vote can attempt to have their views heard.
Since the social unrest caused by the extradition bill, Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor has pledged to listen to society more after apologising for the “complete failure” on the part of the government in working on the proposed law.
However, attempts to engage in dialogue with young people at two major universities were rebuffed, with eight student unions issuing a joint statement describing her invitations to talk as insincere.
Former lawmaker Nathan Law Kwun-chung was one of five then-student leaders who met Lam and other top officials during the Occupy protests in 2014. He said that the dialogue had done nothing for the movement.
Lam, then chief secretary, was one of the officials steering the government’s political reform package that sparked the 79-day sit-in. Law and three other former student leaders who met Lam – Chung Yiu-wah, Lester Shum, and Alex Chow Yong-kang – all ended up being prosecuted for their part in the Occupy movement.
“This might give the impression that Lam was willing to talk with students,” Law said. “But after they’ve used you, they can still go after you.”