They are yellow on the outside but white on the inside, says vice-chairman Some Hong Kong people were 'bananas' - yellow on the outside, but white inside - a state leader told schoolchildren in the city yesterday. Such people 'do not have a bit of national consciousness. They would love to whiten their skin if they could do so', said Cheng Siwei, citing as examples people he had met in the United States. Pointing to Britain's long rule over Hong Kong, the National People's Congress vice-chairman said: 'A few people in Hong Kong admit publicly they are Chinese, but deep in their hearts, they do not consider themselves Chinese. Some people in Taiwan admit publicly they don't want to be Chinese. Are there such people in Hong Kong? I can't say there are none.' Professor Cheng went on to criticise the city's pro-democracy politicians, saying they should study what true democracy meant. 'Some legislators still advocate universal suffrage in 2007 in their platforms for September's Legislative Council election. It amounts to a challenge to the central government and is not a manifestation of patriotism,' he told about 400 students at Heung To Middle School in Tin Shui Wai. Professor Cheng said people who badmouthed Hong Kong and the country were 'sinners of the Chinese nation'. He called on Hong Kong people to discuss changes to electoral methods after 2007 within the framework of the NPC Standing Committee's decision. The Standing Committee ruled out introducing universal suffrage for elections in 2007 and 2008 but said the electoral system could be 'amended appropriately'. He said the remarks of some people in Hong Kong were inconsistent with the Basic Law. 'It's totally wrong for some people in Hong Kong to say the Standing Committee's decision violated the Basic Law,' Professor Cheng said. Democratic Party legislator Cheung Man-kwong insisted democrats were patriotic. 'Professor Cheng lacks sufficient knowledge about Hong Kong,' he said. Professor Cheng supported democratic development in Hong Kong but disagreed with pursuing the cause in an irrational or seditious manner. He said the Democratic Party should strive to reach consensus in the community through democratic procedures, while respecting the views of the minority. 'Some people think democracy means others must adopt their views. It's not in line with the spirit of democracy,' he said. Professor Cheng said Hong Kong people should treasure the prosperity and stability in Hong Kong. 'Political fervour overshadows economic fervour in Hong Kong. I really regret that.'