The Democratic Party’s annual fundraising dinner, which will also mark its 24th anniversary, is scheduled for mid-March.
This early, the party’s central committee has decided not to invite Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor to the event to protest against the indictment of two members, lawmakers Andrew Wan Siu-kin and Lam Cheuk-ting, for disrupting a Legislative Council meeting to voice their dissent.
However, several senior government officials, such as Secretary for Constitutional and Mainland Affairs Patrick Nip Tak-kuen, have accepted the party’s invitation to attend.
It is also understood that the chief executive, although uninvited, has not banned other government officials from going to the event.
Ramon Yuen Hoi-man, chairman of the organizing committee for the event, has declined to reveal the list of those have been invited and those who have agreed to attend. But he confirmed that the party did receive affirmative replies from several high-ranking officials.
Yuen told us that he didn’t think the Democratic Party is being “blockaded” by the government. Yet he also stressed that at the end of the day, the administration has the final word on whether its officials will be allowed to come to the fundraising dinner.
Back in 2015, when relations between the Democratic Party and the government was at rock bottom, rumors had it that the then chief executive Leung Chun-ying had ordered his principal, politically accountable officials to boycott the annual bash.
But even so, the party managed to raise an impressive HK$3.38 million at the event.
As to whether Lam will also order bureau directors to boycott this year’s event like her predecessor did, the chances of her taking such an action are probably remote because it would be too confrontational.
But the party was actually split over whether Lam should be invited or not.
Party heavyweight Fred Li Wah-ming, a former lawmaker, has quit the fundraising committee to protest the decision not to invite the chief executive.
Another seasoned Dem and former lawmaker, Cheung Man-kwong, who is also a member of the party’s fundraising committee, admitted that he was not in favor of the decision and would not join the dinner as well.
He quickly noted, however, that his absence at the forthcoming dinner had nothing to do with the chief executive being snubbed but was due to a travel plan that his wife had arranged.
This article appeared in the Hong Kong Economic Journal on Feb 13
Translation by Alan Lee
[Chinese version 中文版]
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