FOR the first time, Chinese officials yesterday allowed the media to attend a meeting with visitors from Hong Kong. The occasion was a 90-minute get-together between Lu Ping, Director of the State Council's Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office, and a delegation from the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment of Hong Kong (DAB). The idea was proposed by legislator and Preliminary Working Committee (PWC) member Tam Yiu-chung. Also attending were deputy directors Chen Ziying and Wang Fengchao; and leaders of the affairs office's political, economic and cultural departments, Xu Ze, Zhang Liangdong and Zhao Bingxin respectively. Before the meeting started, Mr Lu set out three conditions: that the meeting was an exception and not a precedent, reporters could not ask questions, and the discussion must be reported accurately. Members of the 28-strong delegation raised issues such as the Special Administrative Region passport, Container Terminal 9, the old age pension scheme and sewage disposal. Mr Lu gave his responses in a detailed manner. His two deputies read from written documents prepared before the meeting. Mr Chen said 1.8 million workers needed retirement protection, not the one million covered now. It came as a surprise when veteran unionist Chan Yuen-han pointed out to Mr Chen that to claim one million Hong Kong people were covered by retirement schemes was 'inaccurate'. Mr Chen did not respond. Asked if he was satisfied with the public debut of his affairs office team, Mr Lu said: 'I found it a very good discussion. Some of the proposals put forward were very good. However, our answers might not have sounded entirely satisfactory to you and you might not agree with us totally.'