Mothers rally as Hong Kong’s divide shows no sign of closing

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People attend a gathering of Hong Kong mothers to show their support for the city's young pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong, China on July 5, 2019.

Hong Kong's No 2 official, Chief Secretary Matthew Cheung, said Friday night that the government wants to start a honest dialogue with students, following a meeting with opposition lawmakers.

"Amid the escalating spat over Hong Kong, which Britain handed over to China in 1997, Beijing has told the United Kingdom to keep its hands off the territory".

Lam, who disappeared from public view for two weeks as protests mounted, pledged to do a better job of listening to the voices of young people in a morning speech on Monday, a holiday that marked the 22nd anniversary of the return of Hong Kong from British rule to China.

"The dialog must be open to all Hong Kong citizens to participate, and allow everybody the right to speak", the union said in a statement published on Facebook. Such meetings would be "conducted in a small-scale and closed-door manner", the office said in an emailed response to Bloomberg.

"We will only consider it after the government addresses our demands", he added.

Some Hong Kong university students are rejecting an offer to hold closed-door talks with the territory's chief executive.

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Lam, who was appointed as Hong Kong's leader by a committee dominated by pro-Beijing elites, suspended the legislation after more than a million Hong Kongers marched against it on June 9 and then a June 12 protest blocked access to the legislature and nearby streets.

"We want to ask if the government sincerely wants to communicate with young people or if it's just another political PR show". Carrie Lam reached out to them following massive protests against an extradition bill.

Police fire tear gas at protesters near the government headquarters in Hong Kong early on July 2, 2019.

But many city residents recent what they see as increasing meddling by the mainland and the erosion of freedoms.

Hong Kong returned to China under a "one country, two systems" formula that allows freedoms not enjoyed in mainland China, including freedom to protest and a much-cherished independent judiciary. Beijing denies the charge. The HKUST's student union said it had received the invitation on Wednesday.

Tensions have escalated since it was introduced, sparking large-scale protests.

China has unwavering determination in safeguarding its sovereignty, security and interests in development and maintaining prosperity and stability in Hong Kong, Liu said, reiterating China's firm opposition to interference by external forces.

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