Lawmakers are planning to join activists on a Hong Kong expedition to the Diaoyu Islands to demonstrate mainland sovereignty over the disputed territory.
Or Wah, the chairman of the Action Committee for Defending the Diaoyu Islands, said the group plans to raise about $5 million to buy a vessel for the voyage, scheduled for May or June, and to fund future expeditions.
Mr Or said that the demonstration would be supported by local lawmakers, plus activists from Hong Kong, the mainland, Taiwan and overseas.
Democratic Party lawmaker Albert Ho Chun-yan said that the expedition had been planned as a protest against Tokyo's decision to grant state protection to a lighthouse on the islands, as well as to mark the 60th anniversary of Japan's surrender at the end of the second world war.
'If we get the money to buy the vessel, we plan to launch two to four voyages to the disputed islets every year,' Mr Or said.
While docked in Hong Kong, the vessel would serve as a floating museum, with exhibits depicting Japan's invasion of China during the war and the campaign for defending the islands, he said.
David Chu Yu-lin, a Hong Kong deputy to the National People's Congress, would seek donations for the vessel from the business community. Mr Chu, who took part in an earlier expedition to the islands in 2003, said he intended to join the vessel's maiden voyage, as did lawmaker 'Long Hair' Leung Kwok-hung.
The action committee yesterday petitioned the Hong Kong deputies to the NPC and the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference to raise motions or proposals urging the central government to demand that Japan give up its claims of sovereignty over the islands, as well as issue an apology for its war atrocities.