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Hong Kong Student Activists Trying to Keep Up With Studies

  • Brian Padden

Televised talks in Hong Kong Tuesday between the government and pro-democracy activists brought the two sides no closer to resolving the nearly month long demonstrations that have shut down parts of the city.

Now, as the demonstrations continue, many of the student protesters are struggling to keep up with their studies.

Older advocates for the pro-democracy movement paraded through the demonstration site in central Hong Kong, providing a gesture of support for their younger counterparts.

For many student activists, the midday parade is a distraction from their studies.

Keeping up with studies

The mostly student protesters spend much of their time at the occupied sites engaged in political rallies or involved in confrontations with police or groups that are trying to force them from the streets.

But they have not stopped studying, despite nearly four weeks of street demonstrations that have disrupted classes.

At one protest site, they set up a classroom area complete with free wifi and tutoring sessions. Reading Hui, a mathematics major at the Chinese University of Hong Kong, said his professors are providing extra assistance to the protesters so they don't fall behind in their schoolwork.

“Most of them are supportive and they organize make-up classes and they said if there is any difficulties ... we can find them anytime," Hui said.

But Elvis Ko, a food science major, admitted he is struggling and his parents are not happy.

“We basically won't argue about this because, yeah, we'll all know the results. They think this is not necessary or not acceptable to be hanging out around the streets at night," Ko said.

When they are not studying some protesters catch up on their sleep. Others try to be productive.

What the protesters want

The protesters want the 2017 elections for chief executive to be free from interference from China. Under the current law, only those candidates who are approved by a pro-Beijing nominating committee will be eligible to run.

Christie Wong remains hopeful that future talks with the government will lead to some peaceful resolution so they can go home.

“It's not like we want to be here. We all want to go back to out lives. So if we're satisfied with their answer, then we would just go back to our lives and clear the place. I really hope that is what's going to happen," Wong said.

So far neither side is willing to compromise, and protesters in Hong Kong are settling in for a longer struggle.

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