Ex-chief secretary's criticisms on reform called irresponsible, baseless, unhelpful The central government has launched a strong attack on Anson Chan Fang On-sang, saying her likening of Beijing's handling of Hong Kong's constitutional reform to the Cultural Revolution was irresponsible and 'not in accordance with facts'. Beijing's liaison office in Hong Kong said the former chief secretary's comments would undermine stability and prosperity in the city. Members of the Hong Kong government also weighed in, with Executive Councillor Leung Chun-ying warning that pro-democracy marchers would not help Hong Kong gain Beijing's trust. In a Time magazine article, Mrs Chan called on Beijing to show greater trust in Hong Kong, and said its people wanted better governance, not independence. 'The manner in which the central government has handled this issue, coupled with its rhetoric and posturing reminiscent of the Cultural Revolution, have left most Hong Kong people puzzled, hurt and frustrated,' Mrs Chan wrote. But an unnamed liaison office official last night told Xinhua he 'disagreed with this view'. 'As Hong Kong's economy is recovering, there is a need for an atmosphere of integration and harmony, and the need for everyone who loves this strip of land to contribute their efforts for Hong Kong's further development. 'Making these sorts of unrealistic and irresponsible comments at this time is really not beneficial ...,' the official was quoted as saying. The Cultural Revolution was an 'unforgettable disaster' for Chinese people from which the central government had learned a lesson, this official said. Beijing's actions, including the interpretation of Basic Law provisions on the pace of constitutional reform and its decision to rule out introducing universal suffrage in 2007, had been aimed at maintaining the city's stability and prosperity, the official said. The central government 'totally respects' Hong Kong's freedoms of speech and rights and those freedoms had not been undermined. Top officials echoed his views. Chen Zuoer, deputy director of the State Council's Hong Kong and Macau Office, said the central government trusted Hong Kong and believed most people were patriotic. Zou Zhekai, deputy director of the liaison office, also rejected the comparison with the Cultural Revolution. 'Freedom of speech, human rights and the rule of law are protected under the Basic Law,' Mr Zou said. Mr Leung said: 'Some legislators made remarks in support of Taiwan independence. A few days ago on June 4 there was an article in newspapers written by a senior barrister [Ronny Tong Ka-wah] saying he envied the 1989 pro-democracy movements in Eastern Europe [which led] to the toppling of communist regimes. 'Can these comments increase [Beijing's] trust in Hong Kong?' Financial Secretary Henry Tang Ying-yen said the central government had a 'high degree' of trust in Hong Kong.