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Some HK Student Protesters Cast Doubt on Substantial Progress With Dialogue

Protesters sit under a canopy at an intersection on a main road occupied by protesters in the Mong Kok area in Hong Kong, Tuesday, Oct. 7, 2014.

With formal talks between Hong Kong's student protesters and the territory's government set for Friday, some activists are expressing doubt that the talks will make any progress on their demands for democratic reforms.

The protest sites around the city have dwindled in the past two days from the tens of thousands to only hundreds of activists still occupying sidewalks and streets. But those who remain say they are prepared to continue their struggle.

Joshua Wong, founder of the Hong Kong student activist group Scholarism, told VOA that he is glad to see the dialogue between the government and the federation. But he said the students have not yet achieved victory.

“I do not agree with it, because I believe that we have not achieved good results. In fact, for political reform, what we want is to have a true universal suffrage, civil nominations, and [Chief Executive] Leung Chun-ying to resign," he said.

The Hong Kong Federation of Students, which is leading the discussions with the government, says it cannot call on all protesters to go home until they achieve substantial results in talks with the government.

In the Mong Kok area of Kowloon Tuesday, students expressed defiance and a willingness to remain.

A 19-year-old, who only wanted to be identified as Mr. Lee, told VOA he is prepared to stay even though he was hit by tear gas during clashes last week. He and others say the force used by police was inappropriate. Several students told VOA that officials owe them a public apology.

Mr. Tang, a first-year college student from the Hang Seng Management College who also provided only one name, has been staying outside the chief executive’s office for many days. He said that he thinks the government is well aware of the basic demands from protesters, and the government’s real intention is to outlast this civic movement.

Hong Kong Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying reiterated Monday that the government is interested in a sincere dialogue on political reform and will make every effort to get people's lives back to normal.

This report was produced in collaboration with the VOA Mandarin and Cantonese service.