The Democratic Party last night accused its pro-Beijing rivals of defending mainland policies at the expense of Hong Kong's freedom. The criticism came during a debate on the controversial comments made by a senior Beijing official, warning the media not to report views advocating Taiwan independence. Democratic Party leader Martin Lee Chu-ming tabled a motion accusing Beijing's Liaison Office's deputy director Wang Fengchao, of infringing the Basic Law. Mr Lee said the media had scaled down its reporting of remarks on Taiwan's independence in light of the threats made by Mr Wang on April 12.'This has set a precedent for Beijing cadres to meddle in the SAR's press freedom. This has clearly breached the Basic Law and undermines the one country, two systems. The incident has not only rung the alarm over press freedom, it has shaken the foundations of one country, two systems and rendered disservice to an early reunification with Taiwan,' Mr Lee said. 'The DAB seems to suggest there is nothing wrong with what Mr Wang has said. The only thing wrong is me. We Democrats support press freedom. The DAB also says it supports press freedom. But they always have the word 'but' following.' Mr Lee said support for Taiwan's independence existed and the freedom to express such views should be tolerated. He accused the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment of Hong Kong (DAB) of paying lip service to press freedom, saying it defended Beijing cadres rather than the guaranteed freedom enshrined in the Basic Law. Emily Lau Wai-hing, of The Frontier, said she was worried self-censorship by the media would worsen. But the remarks drew a scathing response from the pro-Beijing camp, which accused Mr Lee of trying to 'convict' Mr Wang for what he had said. DAB vice-chairman Cheng Kai-nam said Beijing officials were entitled to freedom of speech. 'I'm worried that if we pass the motion, it will become a precedent of convicting someone for what he says, giving the impression that some people here are not allowed to say certain things'. Fellow DAB legislator Yeung Yiu-chung said Mr Lee should have taken Mr Wang to court if his remarks on reporting gagged the press and contravened the Basic Law. Ambrose Lau Hon-chuen, the Hong Kong Progressive Alliance chairman, said Mr Wang was speaking as a patriotic Chinese. Ho Sai-chu, of the Liberal Party, said there was no evidence the media had become less vocal. 'If we respect press freedom, it's unreasonable to criticise someone in Legco simply because what he says is not accepted by some members here,' Mr Ho said. The motion, the first time a Beijing cadre has been targeted for his remarks on Hong Kong affairs, was rejected by a vote of 34 to 16. Independent member Dr Leong Che-hung abstained. Acting Constitutional Affairs Secretary Clement Mak Ching-hung said the press had remained lively and robust since the handover. He expressed confidence Beijing officials and their representatives in the SAR would continue to abide by the law.