Leading Democrat Martin Lee Chu-ming said he was more optimistic about Hong Kong under Chinese rule than two months ago. But a lasting guarantee for the future lay with the establishment of a democratic system, he said. The legislature and chief executive should be chosen through democratic elections so they were truly accountable. 'To a small degree, I'm more optimistic at this moment . . . I had good reasons in the past to feel worried about the future. 'We had a tyrant created by China, having all the draconian powers he needed. He has not used any yet. But there's no guarantee that he's not going to use it tomorrow . . . We can only say the dictator has been benign.' Mr Lee, who was kicked out of the disbanded legislative council on July 1, reckoned Tung Chee-hwa could cite evidence on his overseas tours to back his claim it was 'business as usual'. 'There were no arrests. Demonstrations are continuing. It's okay from the outset . . . I don't see any immediate sign of drastic change,' said Mr Lee. The Democratic Party chairman said his major worry was the move to slow democracy through the election laws. 'What is most unacceptable is the return to 'one company, one vote' in functional constituency elections. 'In our previous meeting with Mr Tung, we told him and some government officials at the meeting they were not eligible to vote under the new rules. Does that mean even they do not have a function in society? It's a big insult to the people,' Mr Lee said. He said Mr Tung would be challenged during his visit to the United States over the retrogression in democracy. A democratic political system, Mr Lee argued, would ensure the territory remained unaffected by cyclical political change on the mainland. 'History in communist China shows the pendulum swings from one extreme to another over a period of time . . . We are now under one country. It's a good thing now that the pendulum swings to the right. But what if it swings to the left?' Mr Lee, who has been accused by Mr Tung of 'badmouthing' Hong Kong overseas, said he would continue to travel to foreign countries to update them on the situation in the territory.