Hong Kong's most prominent pro-democracy student leader Joshua Wong and several activists have entered a fourth day of a hunger strike, refusing to eat until city's chief executive Leung Chun-ying restarts dialogues on electoral reform.
On Monday, the 18 year-old leader of the student group Scholarism and two female group members announced the hunger strike following a failed attempt by protesters to shut down government buildings, leading to violent clashes between protesters and police.
"We are disappointed by the government's indifference to the Hong Kong public's demand for universal suffrage, and we are saddened by the overuse of violence by the police," Scholarism said in a statement on its Facebook page.
"In the past 60-odd days, Hong Kong has changed," it continued. "The values that Hong Kongers hold so dear - equality, freedom and justice - have all been ebbed away and destroyed ... we have no other way when facing a broken government but to let go our bodily desires."
On Friday, two more members of Scholarism joined the hunger strike, showing their support for Wong as medical workers forced him to drink a teaspoon of glucose after his blood sugar fell to worryingly low level.
"I have to apologize because during this hunger strike, I'm only supposed to drink water," he told supporters.
Wong has already spent nights jail after arrests over the demonstrations that began in Hong Kong in September. However, the 18 year old, who unabashedly professes his Christian faith on his social media accounts, said that a hunger strike is the "only way" to get the government's attention.
"I know it is really harmful to my body, however it is the only way to give pressure to the government to get a meeting with us," Wong told CNN.
"If the government can have a proper meeting with Scholarism to discuss whether political reform will be launched immediately, we will stop the hunger strike."
Speaking to the press on Wednesday, Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying has warned that the hunger strike is "pointless" and will not change the government's mind regarding political reform.
A statement released by the government later said: "Any discussion relating to constitutional reform must comply with the Basic Law and National People's Congress Standing Committee decisions."
The Open University of Hong Kong, which Wong attends, also appealed to the students, encouraging them to stop the hunger strike and return to school as soon as possible.
"Apart from caring for the community, it is each student's responsibility to attend classes regularly," a university statement released on Wednesday said.
"The university urges all students who are still in the occupying sites to return to school as soon as possible, and continue their activities in a peaceful and legal manner."
But on Friday, Wong tweeted his determination to stand firm, saying he would not back down until there is an "immediate restart of dialogue on political reform".
"We want to let the public know that the hunger strike we're on now is a serious one. We want to refocus the public attention on the umbrella movement," he said.