Military celebrations to mark 70 years of the PLA will be closed to the public and journalists. A Beijing-controlled newspaper said yesterday the PLA in Hong Kong would organise functions with community groups to celebrate the anniversary on Friday. An officer told the South China Morning Post everything would be private. Wen Wei Po reported Friday's functions would be used to develop communication with the public. An officer from the SAR Garrison who gave his name as Li yesterday confirmed there would be anniversary activities, but refused to give details. He said there would only be small-scale celebrations and there had not been enough time to arrange a public programme. Nor would journalists be invited to the events. Details would only be released afterwards, he said. Chairman of the Hong Kong Journalists' Association Carol Lai Pui-yee said she hoped journalists would have the right to cover all events in the SAR, including those concerning the PLA. 'If the programme is related to the public, or mainland media have the right to cover it, I think the local press should have the same opportunities,' she said. Journalists were angered this month when a mainland television station was invited exclusively to a meeting between the then garrison commander, Major-General Liu Zhenwu, and Chief Executive Tung Chee-hwa. Yesterday the news section of the local branch of Xinhua as well as the Government Information Services and the Security Bureau said they knew nothing about the celebrations. Community groups wanting to celebrate the anniversary have as yet received no reply from Xinhua. Hong Kong SAR Military Civil Friendship Promotion Association chairman Peter Chan Kai-fu said he expected a reply from the PLA today.