But the government showed no signs of pushing Beijing to consider protester demands for a framework that would allow a more open nomination system.
If viewers looked at only one side of the room, they might have mistaken it for a high school debate team practice. The student representatives wore black T-shirts with "Freedom Now!" printed across the fronts. A row of dark suits faced them from across the room.
Student leaders, who had been coached by a team of lawyers, listed their complaints systematically, arguing that the public felt forced to come out into the streets because the government was controlled by the business elite and had neglected the city's problems, including a vast and growing income inequality.
"We want this government to show us commitment and the courage to resolve this. It's been 1 hour and 45 minutes and the only message is that the government wants us to just pocket what is on the table. Just keep to the framework imposed by [Beijing] and accept what we are actually against," he said.
"You ask students of the federation, people of the street, to make concessions. But we ask the question here: Isn't it true that young people have already made concessions?" he added. "People have sacrificed their time, their studies, they are willing to sacrifice their careers, their freedom, for a simple right -- an equal and basic political right, that is the nominating rights, the electing rights, and the right to be elected."
After the talks, Chow visited protesters camping near government headquarters in the Admiralty district and said he would continue protesting until the government responds to the people's requests. He urged demonstrators to stay with him.
Heading into the talks, both sides had agreed to hold more than one round of conversations, but no date for the next discussions was immediately announced.
During the discussion, the government representatives repeatedly said it was necessary to work within the framework handed down Aug. 31 by the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress. That framework calls for a 1,200-member committee to screen candidates for chief executive; the committee is widely expected to be stacked with Beijing loyalists.
They stated that the Basic Law, which outlines terms of the 1997 handover of Hong Kong, does not allow for the kind of civil nominating system the students have been seeking.
After the broadcast, many protesters expressed disappointment, saying they expected that the government's pledge to make a new report to China's State Council would have little effect. Others questioned why the government refused to amend its initial report to the National People's Congress. Doing that, in theory, could prompt the body to reconsider its Aug. 31 pronouncement.
"The government is still lying. They said they will submit a new report. But why don't they redraw the one that they submitted before and restart the reform process?" said Lo Chi Yin, 59, a construction worker who watched the broadcast from the Admiralty protest zone. "This is the most boring acting I have ever seen."
Ting Ting, a 20-year-old student, complained that the government did not say whether its new report "would include our demands, such as civil nomination."
"They're just giving their basic standpoints, but I think that this is a good start because first the government side has expressed some good wishes. This is a surprise to most of us that they will give an additional report to the central government," Chan said.
"What is most possible right now is the restrictions that the Chinese government did not rule out such as to expand the membership of the nomination committee" for the 2017 election, Chan said. "That is the most possible point of negotiation."
Ap and Hui are special correspondents. Times staff writer Makinen reported from Beijing.