Lawmaker and pro-democracy camp convener Claudia Mo has said her camp will not attend the China Liaison Office spring reception on Tuesday.

Mo said it could cause a misunderstanding if democrats were to attend the event at Beijing’s office in Hong Kong.

“The China Liaison Office has been interfering with Hong Kong affairs – if we appear too friendly with their officials, it may cause an illusion that democrats agree they can interfere with Hong Kong affairs,” she said.

Claudia Mo
Claudia Mo. File photo:

She said the office could meet with lawmakers at locations other than its building in Sai Wan to discuss matters which concern both sides.

The China Liaison Office communicates with different sectors across the city, but has been criticised as acting as an unofficial government for coordinating the pro-Beijing camp. Hong Kong’s Basic Law is meant to forbid interference from Beijing and guarantee semi-autonomous status.

Lawmaker Au Nok-hin also said he did not hear about any pro-democracy lawmakers intending to go to the reception.

He said he believed the China Liaison Office and local government failed to listen to the democrats’ opinions on the national anthem law and the new one-off extradition proposal with mainland China.

He added that the two bodies should make actual responses to Hong Kong people’s demands, if they truly wished to communicate with democrats.

Chinese Liaison Office building in Sai Wan hong kong
Chinese Liaison Office. Photo: Wikimedia Commons.

Legislature luncheon

The news came after democrats failed to attend the legislature’s spring luncheon on Monday with the chief executive, Executive Council members and senior government officials. All pro-Beijing camp lawmakers attended.

Mo said her camp and the administration did not have a good relationship and thus chose not to go.

Legislative Council President Andrew Leung said the China Liaison Office reception will be a good opportunity for lawmakers to communicate with central government officials.

“The Greater Bay Area development plan will come out soon, and lawmakers can express how can we do better for Hong Kong people,” he said.

Legco pres Andrew Leung
Andrew Leung. File Photo:

Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong Chair Starry Lee said the China Liaison Office reception was arranged after the Legislative Council hosted a luncheon for the office last year, which was attended by some democrats.

She urged the pro-democracy camp to rethink whether to attend the reception on Tuesday, since it would be unfair for them to boycott the event whilst accusing Beijing of not listening to them.

At the legislative luncheon last April, China Liaison Office Director Wang Zhimin refused to accept a painting from a pro-democracy lawmaker featuring former Chinese leader Deng Xiaoping.

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.