Fewer than half of the 400 district councillors invited to talks with Chief Executive Carrie Lam and her top officials on Wednesday took up their invitations, and those who did gave a mixed reaction to the two-hour discussion.
Councillors who attended the behind-closed-doors discussion at government headquarters said about 150 to 180 people joined the meeting, with lots drawn to decide which councillors would be allowed to give a three-minute speech.
Mrs Lam arranged the meeting as part of her attempt to buld a "platform for dialogue" to ease tensions in society, but some councillors from both the pro-democracy and Beijing-loyalist camps had said they would stay away because they saw little value in the discussion.
Jeremy Young, a Liberal Party councillor in Central and Western District, said the meeting was a good start, but he hopes officials will become more proactive in talking to people:
"We urged her to continue her work, to go directly to the residents, listen to their views," he said. "I mean, we are representatives elected by the residents, but we are still one step away from the actual residents themselves."
Christine Fong, a Sai Kung councillor from the Professional Power group, said the meeting touched on various issues. She had proposed setting up an inquiry into recent social unrest.
"Whether it is a constructive dialogue or not, I will say we can only do our best to present what we believe and what we heard from Hong Kong people," she said.
Lai Tsz-yan, a pro-democracy councillor in Sha Tin District, said he didn't think the Chief Executive and her officials would genuinely respond to people's demands.
He said the fact that each councillor was given just three minute to speak showed that the government lacked the sincerity to listen.
Senior officials in attendancy included Chief Secretary Matthew Cheung, Constitutional and Mainland Affairs Secretary Patrick Nip, Transport and Housing Secretary Frank Chan, Labour and Welfare Secretary Law Chi-kwong and Home Affairs Secretary Lau Kong-wah.
Councillors stay away from talks with CE
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