Zhang Dejiang, the Beijing official in charge of Hong Kong affairs, has invited four pro-democracy lawmakers to a cocktail party to be held during his visit to Hong Kong next week. Zhang will be in the city between May 17 and 19 at the invitation of Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying in order to attend a summit on the Belt and Road Initiative.
The four pro-democracy lawmakers include the Democratic Party’s Emily Lau, the Labour Party’s Cyd Ho, Health Services representative Joseph Lee Kok-long, and the Civic Party leader Alan Leong.
Ho declined the invitation while Leong said that he needed to discuss the matter with his party before making a decision. Meanwhile, Lau and Lee have accepted the invitation.
Six other pro-Beijing lawmakers were also invited to the event. They include DAB Chairwoman Starry Lee and Legislative Council president Jasper Tsang Yok-sing.
Lau told Apple Daily that she wanted to attend the cocktail party to help Zhang understand why Hongkongers have a decreasing level of confidence in the Central and Hong Kong governments, and why they have lost faith – and even hope – in One Country, Two Systems.
Leong told Ming Pao that, while a decision has not been made, “as long as it is face to face, and the conversation has substance, and there is no need to use binoculars [to see Zhang], I will take the chance to express messages which can smooth the political situation.”
Ahead of Zhang’s visit, glue was applied to pavement bricks in areas outside the Central Government Offices and Legislative Council. Bricks were also secured around the area outside the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre, where the Belt and Road Summit is to be held. However, some of the adhesive was washed away in a red rainstorm on Tuesday.
The One Belt One Road initiative is the Chinese government’s plan to connect the country with the rest of Asia, Africa and Europe via land and sea.