Pro-democracy campaigners in Hong Kong have been able to watch live coverage of formal talks which have got underway – but Chinese TV is only showing the faces of government officials, not student leaders.
The territory’s Chief Executive Leung Chun-yin has admitted that the election process at the centre of the dispute could be made “more democratic”.
His comments about the panel that selects candidates are being seen as the first signs of possible concessions.
“We all realise that the first meeting cannot solve all the problems. But it is a good start to have a dialogue. The government will listen to the opinion of the Hong Kong Federation of Students with the greatest sincerity,” Leung told reporters.
The protesters denounce plans whereby candidates for the 2017 election must be vetted by a large committee they fear will be stuffed with Beijing loyalists.
But among the 1,000 or so demonstrators camped out near government headquarters,there are signs some are prepared for some give and take.
“I think we all understand that we can’t really get any concrete results. But at least an open dialogue can tell everybody why we are all here,” said a young woman.
“At least talking is a first step. I think both sides have to compromise but my opinion is that I don’t want students to compromise too much as we would like to fight for democracy and genuine universal suffrage,” a young man added.
With Hong Kong’s leader saying talks on changes to the nominating committee can only start later in the year, an early breakthrough in the stand-off appears unlikely.