The launch of Christine Loh Kung-wai's Citizens Party drew a guarded reaction from mainland officials and their allies in the pro-Beijing camp in spite of the independent legislator's overtures to China. Officials from the Government, Xinhua (the New China News Agency) and members of Tung Chee-hwa's Cabinet shunned the inauguration ceremony yesterday. Pro-Beijing groups such as the Alliance for the Betterment of Hong Kong and the Progressive Alliance did not send representatives or greetings. Ms Loh said: 'We are keen to have dialogue with the Chinese side but it is not easy for democrats like us.' She did not see the new party as splitting the democratic camp. 'We reckon the market is not saturated,' said the businesswoman turned politician. 'Our emergence will attract more people who are interested in politics.' The party stresses co-operation with all sides and appeals to all social classes. Members of the party were mostly new to politics, but Ms Loh considered their experience an asset. 'Mozart Lui Yat-ming and Wong Wai-hung have substantial experience in community work,' said Ms Loh. Mr Lui is the only person, apart from Ms Loh, who has taken part in election. He failed in the district board election and is now Ms Loh's assistant. Wong Wai-hung is a veteran unionist in the civil service but declined to become a spokesman for the party. Other members include academics, executives, a film-maker and a housewife. The chairman of the Democratic Party, Martin Lee Chu-ming, was among the few politicians who showed up for the modest ceremony. Two other legislators attended: Democrat Zachary Wong Wai-yin and House Committee chairman Dr Leong Che-hung. Mr Lee said: 'One more party will give the people more choice.' He expected to co-operate with the Citizens Party on issues concerning freedom, rule of law, human rights, democracy and environmental protection. The short ceremony started with a video show and introduction of the 14 founding members. The party is in search of funds but the exact amount was not revealed. The party would set up a party office in July, Ms Loh said.