Pro-Beijing lawmaker Regina Ip Lau Suk-yee has invited Hong Kong’s new pro-independence political party and student unions to meet and discuss localism. Her efforts, however, prompted blunt rejections.

In emails sent to the Hong Kong National Party (HKNP), the student unions of nine local universities, and the Hong Kong Federation of Students, Ip said: “In my opinion, localism itself is not a problem”.

“Who doesn’t love the city in which one lives?” she wrote. “Our society does not have a consensus on ‘who is a Hongkonger’ and ‘Hong Kong’s core values’ – in the long run, support for Hong Kong independence may harm Hong Kong.”

Regina Ip
Regina Ip. File

Ip added that it was up to the invited parties to suggest the time, location and form of the meeting.

‘Accomplice of the dictatorship’ 

However, the HKNP, whose formation was criticised widely by Beijing and pro-Beijing figures in Hong Kong, was not interested in meeting. It said that it had nothing to talk about with “an accomplice of the dictatorship” who tried to legislate the national security law during her tenure as the Secretary for Security.

On Facebook, the party said it would not meet unless Ip “realises her error and mends her ways, detaches from the pro-Beijing camp [and] support Hong Kong independence”.

hong kong national party chan ho-tin
File photo: Hong Kong National Party, via Facebook.

The student union of Shue Yan University also rejected Ip.

“Thank you for the invitation, we kindly decline,” the union said on its Facebook page, accompanied with a hashtag “do not collude with criminals”.

Ip – who is rumoured to be standing for Chief Executive next year – then told Ming Pao on Friday that she still hoped to meet the invited parties in the future: “It is always good to have more communications,” she said.

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.