Student-led group Scholarism yesterday rebuffed an invitation to dine with Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying and discuss political reform, saying they didn't want any "closed-door talks" with the government.
In a statement last night, the group said Ronald Chan Ngok-pang, political assistant to the constitutional and mainland affairs secretary, had issued the invitation for September 17. But it ruled out attending the event.
"We should be … talking to the public. It is meaningless to discuss political reform with the government behind closed doors," the statement said.
Invitations for two dinners at Government House - on September 12 and 17 - were sent out last week to more than 40 academics, professionals, businesspeople and members of non-governmental groups, following an earlier exchange of views at a similar occasion on August 1. They are aimed at giving people of all political hues the chance to discuss universal suffrage.
Among those invited to the September 12 dinner is Dr Chan Kin-man, an organiser of the Occupy Central civil disobedience movement, of which Leung has been highly critical. Chan said last week he intended to go to the dinner. Society for Community Organisation director Ho Hei-wah was on the September 17 list and said he would not go as he had another engagement.
And Association for Democracy and People's Livelihood chairman Bruce Liu Sing-lee confirmed that he would attend the September 17 dinner.
The government did not disclose the guest lists.
Scholarism convenor Joshua Wong Chi-fung said the group turned down the invitation as any meeting with officials should be "open and transparent". The consultation on political reform for the 2017 chief executive poll is expected to start early next year.