The latest constitutional reform paper has omitted key international standards of "universal suffrage" that were part of the consultation document five years ago, a shift which an ex-chief secretary described as "dishonest".
Anson Chan Fang On-sang, convenor of discussion group Hong Kong 2020, said the latest document was one "no self-respecting administrative officer" would have come up with.
In a joint press conference held by the 2020 group and the Civic Party, the former No 2 official pointed out that the 2007 green paper on last year's election cited Basic Law articles guaranteeing Hongkongers' right to vote and to stand for election, as well as the United Nations Human Rights Committee's principles of "universal" and "equal" suffrage. But these references were missing in the current consultation document, Chan said.
Chief Secretary Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor refuted the allegation, saying the latest paper did outline the legal justifications, spelling out relevant Basic Law articles and National People's Congress decisions.
Civic Party leader Audrey Eu Yuet-mee said the paper adopted mainly Beijing policymakers' views. "It's merely using legal concepts to package politics."
Another key issue missing in the paper concerns the changes to the 2016 Legislative Council poll: whether functional constituency seats should be abolished.
Chan said the government's reiteration that the future nominating committee should take reference from the previous election committee was incorrect.
The Basic Law stipulated the future institution should be "broadly representative", she said, but "the election committee's electoral base was only 7 per cent of the general electorate".
Chan and Eu urged the public to voice their opinions during the consultation that ends on May 3.