In a move seen as damage control, the Democratic Party has decided to publish an announcement in newspapers on Saturday, setting out its position on Martin Lee Chu-ming's recent article, including the party's support for Beijing hosting next year's Olympic Games.
"It is not an apology, but a clear declaration of what we stand for," said chairman Albert Ho Chun-yan.
"We are of the same mind as Lee," Ho said, adding that the party plans to spell out its position on the Games and the mainland human rights situation. The party's position on the issues is essentially the same as Lee's, but "some of the wording [in Lee's Wall Street Journal article] will be avoided in order to avoid further misunderstanding."
Chief Secretary for Administration Henry Tang Ying-yen was the latest to join the controversy, saying "the Olympics should not be politicized."
Lee reiterated there was nothing in his article urging the Bush administration or other countries to boycott the Games.
"Even the Foreign Ministry did not specify my name when it said those who try to pressure China with the help of external forces is bound to fail," he said.
But Tsang Hin-chi, a National People's Congress Standing Committee member, said in Beijing that Lee's "bad behavior has never changed."
Tsang added: "Is he blind, mute or deaf? How is it he cannot see the progress that China has made in recent years? He asked foreign countries to impose sanctions on China. Isn't that what only traitors will do?"
Pro-Beijing lawmakers on Friday also continued with their attack on Lee.
Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong chairman Tam Yiu-chung insisted Lee should apologize.
"It's no use for him to make excuses. It's in black and white. He should apologize and frankly admit he had said the wrong words.
"It's true that he did not advocate boycotting Beijing Olympics in his article, yet he asked a country which has a record of meddling in other countries' affairs even without invitation," Tam said.
Liberal Party chairman James Tien Pei-chun said the public is capable of understanding Lee's article, and suggested the Democratic Party publish the original article.
"If Lee did not write what the critics said he did, a smear campaign won't succeed," he said.
Liberal Party vice chairwoman Selina Chow Liang Shuk-yee said Lee should think carefully about whether his actions are in the interests of those who voted for him.
But pan-democrat "Long Hair" Leung Kwok-hung defended Lee during the policy address debate, saying that foreign investors would be frightened off "if it is so easy in Hong Kong to make serious accusations against a person for what he said, and making `a Cultural Revolution-style' public denouncement and criticism of that person."
The China Daily accused Lee of working against the will of the entire nation and doing outright damage to national interests.