But Donald Tsang warns Hong Kong must find its own unique path to universal suffrage, not merely copy others' Chief Secretary Donald Tsang Yam-kuen said yesterday the introduction of universal suffrage was a 'clear goal' - but Hong Kong's political system should not be a clone of that in America or Britain. Mr Tsang's comments in New York were dismissed at home by pro-democracy politicians and academics, who say there is not enough time under the government's timetable to introduce universal suffrage before the next elections for the chief executive and the legislature. Speaking to US politicians and business leaders as a part of a tour to promote Hong Kong, Mr Tsang also described the July 1 mass demonstration as a 'defining moment for Hong Kong' of which he was personally very proud. He said consultation on electoral reform would start next year in accordance with the timetable laid out in the Basic Law.'We hopefully [will be able to] put the legislation forward by the time we have reached the next stage of our evolving electoral constitutional arrangement, which is 2007,'' he said. 'That definitely is a clear goal.' Under Hong Kong's mini-constitution, the present method of choosing the chief executive by an 800-member Election Committee, and half of the 60-seat Legislative Council by trade-based functional constituencies, can be changed after 2007. Senior officials, among them Chief Executive Tung Chee-hwa, have stated in the past that consultation would start next year. But Mr Tsang warned that Hong Kong's future political system should not be copied from the US and British models. 'It is important for us to realise we must find our own way to reach universal suffrage, not simply cloning it from other systems,'' he said. 'It must be something which is unique to Hong Kong, which suits Hong Kong's circumstances.' Critics have long argued that consultation should start this year because further delays would put the 2007 chief executive election beyond the timeline for change. Joseph Cheng Yu-shek, a political scientist at City University, said: 'These top officials keep telling foreigners every day that Hong Kong is a world-class metropolis, but the fact is that we can't even choose our own leaders. They have been trying to divert the attention of the western media from the fact we lack basic rights.' Democratic Party chairman Yeung Sum agreed. 'They should stop muddling people. This is not a debate on what system to take. The ultimate system is already stated in the Basic Law - that we will elect both the chief executive and the entire Legco by one man, one vote.'