Key members of the Democratic Party met with a top Beijing official in charge of Hong Kong affairs on Wednesday, in a move that has triggered a backlash within the party. The party’s own central committee was only informed of the meeting after it had taken place.

The party informed of its central committee of the meeting on Thursday afternoon and held a press conference in the evening to make a public announcement.

Chairwoman Emily Lau Wai-hing, vice-chairmen Andrew Wan Siu-kin and Lo Kin-hei, chief executive Lam Cheuk-ting as well as lawmaker Wu Chi-wai attended the two-and-a-half-hour meeting with Feng Wei, deputy director of the State Council’s Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office.

From left: Lam Cheuk-ting, Andrew Wan Siu-kin, Emily Lau Wai-hing, Lo Kin-hei.

Lau denied that it was a “behind-closed-doors” meeting at the press conference, reported Ming Pao.

“Of course meetings are behind closed doors. Do you want us to meet at City Hall or the Hong Kong Stadium?” She said. “… Are you suggesting that we should hold meetings in front of television cameras every time?”

Au Nok-him, a member of party’s central committee told Ming Pao: “In the past, [the party] would only meet Beijing officials after detailed discussions within the central committee. This time, we were only notified after the meeting… It is not in accordance with the democracy within the party.”

In 2010, the Democratic Party met with the China Liaison Office.

Lau told Feng about the Democratic Party’s concerns of the political situation in Hong Kong, she said.

“At the moment, Hong Kong is in deep trouble. Many problems have appeared and society has been seriously torn apart. If something was caused by the people appointed by the Chinese Central Government, then the Chinese Central Government should know about Hongkongers’ anger. We did not previously have an opportunity to tell them that,” Lau said.

The meeting marked the first contact of such kind between the two since a political reform package was rejected in June.

The political reform package was a plan by the Hong Kong government to introduce popular vote for the Chief Executive election, in which the candidates would first have to be vetted by a nomination committee. The proposal was rejected in LegCo in June, with Democratic Party lawmakers being among members who opposed to the proposal.

Kris Cheng

Kris Cheng is a Hong Kong journalist with an interest in local politics. His work has been featured in Washington Post, Public Radio International, Hong Kong Economic Times and others. He has a BSSc in Sociology from the Chinese University of Hong Kong. Kris is HKFP's Editorial Director.