Three students who have led protests for greater democracy in Hong Kong were denied permission to travel to Beijing to meet with China’s top officials.
Alex Chow, Nathan Law and Eason Chung — members of a student group that played a main role in organizing street protests that started nearly two months ago — arrived at the Hong Kong airport greeted by well-wishers.
But they were denied boarding passes for a Cathay Pacific flight when they were told their documents that would allow them to travel to Beijing were invalid.
The group left the airport, and a news conference was scheduled for later in the evening.
The students had intended to fly to Beijing and head straight to China’s legislature to seek talks with Premier Li Keqiang and others.
The protesters oppose Beijing’s decision that a panel screen candidates for the territory’s inaugural 2017 elections.
But Beijing has denounced the movement as illegal.
An editorial appearing in the Saturday edition of the party-run newspaper Global Times said the students were not expected to meet with Chinese leaders and said their travel plans were merely a show for sympathy.
“These activists may be too naive,” the editorial reads. “Do they really know who they are and whom they can represent? How can they meet whomever they want in Beijing?”