posted at 21:50
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Hong Kong leader says poor would dominate free vote
"If it's entirely a numbers game and numeric representation, then obviously you'd be talking to the half of the people in Hong Kong who earn less than US$1,800 a month," he said in the interview. Long-awaited talks between student leaders and senior government officials are scheduled to be held later Tuesday in a bid to end the impasse. "The situation might get worse" if the government continues to deny concessions to democracy protesters, Surya Deva, a law professor at City University of Hong Kong, told AFP. "Why should poor Hong Kong people follow laws and believe in the rule of law when they have no hope for political or economic empowerment?" Deva questioned. Leung made a dramatic U-turn last week by announcing a return to talks with the Hong Kong Federation of Students, one of the groups leading the protests, after abruptly pulling out of discussions a week earlier. Beijing has offered Hong Kongers the chance to vote for their next leader in 2017. Increased competition with wealthy mainlanders and anger over the cozy relationship between the government and Hong Kong's financial elite have also left the younger generation deeply uneasy about what awaits them in adulthood. Almost 20 percent of Hong Kong residents, or 1.31 million people, are under an official poverty line introduced in September of 2013.

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