Eleven pro-democracy lawmakers received an invitation on Monday to a series of official events in celebration of Hong Kong’s 20th Handover anniversary, including a banquet with Chinese President Xi Jinping.
The lawmakers were: the Democratic Party’s Wu Chi-wai, Lam Cheuk-ting and Roy Kwong; the Civic Party’s Alvin Yeung, Tanya Chan and Dennis Kwok; and the Professionals Guild’s Charles Mok, Kenneth Leung, Ip Kin-yuen, Shiu Ka-chun and Joseph Lee.
Medical sector lawmaker Pierre Chan, who positions himself as a centrist, also received an invitation.
The banquet is scheduled for Friday evening. The lawmakers were also invited to a flag raising ceremony, a variety show and the inauguration of incoming leader Carrie Lam.
None of the lawmakers advocating self-determination – such as Nathan Law, Lau Siu-lai and Edward Yiu – were invited.
The government did not explain its choice. A government spokesperson said the guest list was compiled based on a range of factors, such as the nature of the event and the venue arrangement.
Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying declined to comment four times on the decisions during Tuesday’s regular media session.
Lam Cheuk-ting confirmed Tuesday that he and his two party colleagues will attend Friday’s banquet.
He said they will stage a protest outside the banquet venue, and then hand a letter to Xi during the event demanding universal suffrage and stating that the One Country, Two System policy has not been properly implemented.
Alvin Yeung said the Civic Party will hold a meeting on Tuesday to decide whether its three lawmakers will attend the event.
He added that he did not understand why his two party colleagues – Kwok Ka-ki and Jeremy Tam – were excluded. “It seems that the government does not treat all lawmakers equally,” he said.
Lawmaker Eddie Chu criticised the authorities for barring democratically elected lawmakers from attending official Handover events. He accused Beijing of disrespecting Hongkongers and dividing the pro-democracy camp.
The Hong Kong government stepped up security measures ahead of Xi’s visit, due to take place between Thursday and Saturday.
Several protests have been planned during the period, including a pro-independence event on Friday evening and the annual July 1 rally on Saturday afternoon.