Bernard Chan believes most people are realistic and flexible on the pace of democratic change for Hong Kong Beijing should be told by the Hong Kong taskforce on constitutional reform that Hong Kong people simply want greater democracy to improve links with the government, an independent lawmaker said yesterday. But Bernard Charnwut Chan also warned that democracy might not necessarily result in the right political leaders being chosen. Speaking on RTHK's Letter to Hong Kong, the insurance representative in the Legislative Council said the big lesson for Hong Kong last year was that the political system should change. But he said recent events had showed that Beijing obviously wanted Hong Kong to 'calm down a bit'. 'It seems the national leadership wants to remind us that the Basic Law gives Beijing decision-making power [on reform]. But they haven't actually ruled out anything,' he said. In response to Beijing's demand for more consultation, Chief Executive Tung Chee-hwa has appointed a taskforce headed by Chief Secretary Donald Tsang Yam-kuen to oversee the city's reforms. The central government has promised to arrange a meeting with the taskforce, to be held in Beijing soon after the Lunar New Year holiday. Mr Chan said that while there were different views on the pace of reform, most people were flexible and realistic. 'Most of them are prepared to be flexible and accept a more gradual course, provided Beijing accepts the need for change and offers them real hope that it is going to happen. 'They simply want a political system that produces a government that is in touch, gives them a voice and can get things done. 'The taskforce needs to reassure Beijing that most of the people asking for more democracy are simply asking for a practical way to make this city a better place.' However, Mr Chan said the more choices brought by greater democracy might result in the public picking an outsider who was unable to settle into the role under the existing system. He said the ministerial system introduced in 2002 had shown that some of those drafted from outside the government often had clashes with the civil service. He echoed criticism against Mr Tung, a former shipping magnate, who has been accused of running Hong Kong like his shipping empire. He said the chief executive's efforts to push the economy towards a technology base and offers of special encouragement for particular sectors reflected the mindset of a company boss diversifying his business, rather than that of the leader of a laissez-faire city. Unlike the situation in Hong Kong, Mr Chan said overseas democratic countries such as Britain and the US had a long tradition of grooming young politicians and integrating outsiders with the government bureaucracy. 'We have quite a learning curve ahead of us as we move towards a more democratic future. 'The doors of government will open up to people with more talent than ever, greater vision, better leadership and connection with the community. But we'll have to be sure that those are the ones we vote for.'