HONG KONG (AFP) – Hong Kong protest leaders made a formal request Friday to speak with China over political reform, calling on a pro-Beijing politician to act as their mediator.
Protest numbers have dwindled since mass rallies mobilised tens of thousands demanding fully free elections for the city’s next leader.
But demonstrators are still entrenched at key intersections with a “tent city” spread across the main Admiralty site.
Fruitless talks with the Hong Kong government two weeks ago have led to an impasse and protest leaders now want to bypass the unpopular local administration altogether.
Leading protest group the Hong Kong Federation of Students (HKFS) presented an open letter Friday to the city’s former leader Tung Chee-hwa requesting his help to arrange a meeting with Beijing officials.
“We hope Tung can show political generosity… and help arrange a meeting between students and Chinese officials either in Hong Kong or in Beijing so that we can directly express the situation in the city,” the federation said in the letter published Friday.
The Hong Kong government “did not have the ability to respond” to student demands, HKFS said, adding that they hoped to hear back from Tung by Sunday.
“Tung Chee-hwa is well-respected from the perspective of Beijing and was the former chief executive of Hong Kong so I think he is in a good position to mediate,” political analyst Sonny Lo told AFP.
“There is a window of opportunity here,” he said.