Lawmakers invited to Shanghai next month for talks on electoral reform can expect to meet two of the most senior Beijing officials on Hong Kong affairs, Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying says.
Leung also extended a gesture of goodwill to pan-democrats, who have yet to decide if they will join the April 12-13 trip.
"Wang Guangya , director of the State Council's Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office, and Basic Law Committee chairman Li Fei will be in Shanghai to meet lawmakers and exchange views on electoral reform," Leung said yesterday.
"I hope lawmakers can make use of the chance [to meet central government officials]."
The line-up prompted the pan-democratic camp to call for a separate meeting. Exclusive talks between the camp and the two Beijing heavyweights would allow for exchange of genuine opinions, Labour Party leader Lee Cheuk-yan said.
"If pro-establishment lawmakers were there as well, it would become more like a Legislative Council debate," Lee said. "That would be meaningless."
Ronny Tong Ka-wah of the Civic Party echoed Lee's request.
Pan-democrats are to decide today on whether they will attend, after failing to reach a consensus on Friday. They will also meet Legislative Council President Jasper Tsang Yok-sing to express other requests and doubts over the trip.
Leung said the administration would try to accommodate the requests of all lawmakers.
"Regardless of their political affiliation, we will convey their requests to the central government," he said. "I hope lawmakers can raise more concrete requests."
Today, 16 legislators from across the political spectrum will attend the first of four breakfast meetings hosted by Chief Secretary Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor on electoral reform.
The liaison office will be represented, most likely by Legal Affairs Department director general Dr Liu Xinkui.