A mainland expert on Hong Kong affairs has called on the central government to step up dialogue with moderate pan-democrats to close the rift on political reform.
Jiang Shigong, deputy director of Peking University's Centre for Hong Kong and Macau Studies, said Beijing and moderate pan-democrats should discuss political reform to avoid a "life-or-death scenario".
Jiang, a researcher at the central government's liaison office in Hong Kong from 2004 to 2008, also said the pan-democrats should come up with proposals on how the nomination rules for the 2017 chief executive election should be written.
The academic, who advises the central government on policies towards Hong Kong, was speaking two weeks after remarks by top National People's Congress official Qiao Xiaoyang sparked fear among pan-democrats that their candidates would be filtered out of the race.
Jiang said pan-democrats should concentrate on how to make the selection of the chief executive by universal suffrage more democratic, by considering the size of the nominating committee which will put candidates forward for a popular vote, and how to widen its voter base.
"Pan-democrats should also come up with proposals for how the nomination rules should be written to ensure a reasonable nomination process," he said. "They should not adopt a results-oriented approach and keep complaining that their candidate will be barred from the race."
Qiao, chairman of the National People's Congress Law Committee, said in Shenzhen on March 24 that those "who confront the central government" would be ineligible to become chief executive.
Urging dialogue, Jiang said no-one would benefit from a confrontation between Beijing and the pan-democrats.
Albert Ho Chun-yan, who was Democratic Party chairman in 2010, agreed there was a need to engage in dialogue. "But our bottom line is candidates holding different political views should be able to enter the race," he said.