Consultation on electoral reform should not begin until most Hongkongers agree that those who confront the central government should not rule the city, a top Beijing official has said.
The remark by Qiao Xiaoyang, chairman of the Law Committee under the National People's Congress, came amid criticism by pan-democrats of the city's government for delaying public consultation on the 2017 chief executive election.
A full transcript of a speech Qiao made on Sunday was uploaded to the website of the central government's Hong Kong liaison office yesterday.
Qiao listed two key prerequisites for electing the chief executive by universal suffrage.
"A prerequisite is that it has to be in line with the Basic Law and the relevant decision of the NPC Standing Committee," he said. "Another prerequisite is that those confronting the central government are not allowed to become the chief executive.
"If these two prerequisites are not met and fail to gain recognition from a majority of people in Hong Kong society, it will be inappropriate to launch the political reform consultation. Even if the consultation went ahead, it would not yield a good result.
"Confrontation does not refer to criticising Beijing. Criticism is allowed as long as it is for the good of the country," he said.
He added that Hong Kong could not blindly follow the Western political system.
"What flowers the Western garden can plant are stipulated by their constitutions. What flowers the Hong Kong garden can plant are stipulated by the Basic Law. [The opposition camp can] say whatever they like but not the Basic Law provisions," he said.
"If you tell him, according to the Basic Law, this flower cannot be planted he will say you are inconsistent with international standards."
Democratic Party lawmaker Albert Ho Chun-yan criticised Qiao's ideas for "overriding" the system and the law. He hoped they were not Beijing's policy.
A government spokesman last night said authorities would launch the formal consultation "at an appropriate time".
The academic behind the Occupy Central movement, Dr Benny Tai Yiu-ting, said Qiao's remarks would not affect plans to protest for universal suffrage.