Hong Kong politicians find a range of interpretations for the central leaders' comments on sticking to the Basic Law The Democratic Party saw a glimmer of hope in mainland leaders' comments yesterday on the pace of Hong Kong's democratisation, but their opponents said nothing had changed. Political analysts agreed Beijing was still undecided about what should happen, but one said the central government would have been worried by the district council election results. The leadership was playing safe, said another. President Hu Jintao told Chief Executive Tung Chee-hwa that constitutional development beyond 2007 should be in line with the Basic Law. Premier Wen Jiabao, asked about the possibility of universal suffrage in 2007, urged Hong Kong people to value the achievements of the past six years. Democratic Party chairman Yeung Sum said the remarks showed Beijing had allowed Hong Kong much room to manoeuvre. 'Mr Hu says the review [of the pace of democratisation] should be done according to the Basic Law. The Basic Law does allow the possibility of universal suffrage as early as 2007,' he said. He said he was delighted the president had also told Mr Tung to pay more attention to public sentiment. 'The chief executive still lacks a good grasp of the public pulse. He should not continue to drag his feet on the democracy review,' he said. Liberal Party leader James Tien Pei-chun said he did not feel Mr Hu's remarks had implied democratic review could be faster or slower. 'I don't see that the president has indicated whether [universal suffrage] in 2007 is something that can be done or not. What he said was Hong Kong's leaders [should carry out their] own review, gauge public sentiment, follow the actual situation and conduct broad consultation.' Tsang Yok-sing, former chairman of the Democratic Alliance for Betterment of Hong Kong, said Beijing was simply playing to type and that it had all along adopted the position of 'work according to the Basic Law'. Anthony Cheung Bing-leung, professor of public and social administration at City University, said the national leaders' remarks showed Beijing had not come to a view on democracy. 'But obviously, Beijing has become very concerned about this issue in the wake of the district council elections,' he said. He said Mr Wen's call on people to value the achievements of the past six years showed the national leadership believed any changes should not affect stability or prosperity. Political analyst Li Pang-kwong, of Lingnan University, said Beijing had not expressed a position for fear of provoking disputes in Hong Kong. 'Beijing does not want to trigger conflicts. It is a very safe position to say that any reform would have to follow the Basic Law,' said Professor Li. Allen Lee Peng-fei, former Liberal Party leader and a deputy to the National People's Congress, said national leaders were not as supportive of Mr Tung now. Shi Yinhong, a professor at the school of international studies at People's University in Beijing, said Mr Tung and his government had not done enough to improve his communication with the public since the July 1 march. 'President Hu's remarks amounted to a call for Mr Tung to do better in that aspect.'