Activists should show patience, says top official All Hong Kong citizens can get a home return permit, a senior mainland official reiterated yesterday in response to reports that several pro-democracy figures may have their bans lifted. The statement by Yang Wenchang, commissioner of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Hong Kong, came as the Liberal Party joined calls by pro-Beijing figures urging the government to help activists visit the mainland. Mr Yang told an American Chamber of Commerce luncheon on Chinese foreign policy that democrats who were barred from entering the mainland should be patient and they would be issued with permits. 'I said a few days ago that anyone can get a home return permit. Take it slowly. Everybody can get home return permits,' Mr Yang said. He said the central government valued Hong Kong and would not change its policy towards the city. Speculation has been rife that the central government had given the go-ahead to some pro-democracy figures in Hong Kong to visit the mainland, since Vice-President Zeng Qinghong's remarks last week that Beijing was not in opposition with anyone. James Tien Pei-chun, chairman of the Liberal Party which will send a delegation to Beijing today to lobby state officials over the issue, will table a Legco motion on July 7 calling on the central government to let democrats visit the mainland. Democrat Martin Lee Chu-ming, who earlier moved a Legco motion calling on the public to 'join hands' with Beijing, is reportedly on the short-list of democrats who may have their bans lifted and receive return permits. Mr Lee said he had not been notified by the mainland authorities. 'It is funny that Yang said everyone can get permits. Maybe what he meant was that we should wait longer,' he said. Other leading pro-democracy politicians, such as Emily Lau Wai-hing, Szeto Wah and Lau Chin-shek, all part of the effort to offer Beijing an olive branch, said they had not been told they would be given permits, nor had they been contacted by mainland authorities. 'It is a right for us as citizens to return to the homeland. It is good that Beijing is trying to do something good to right the past wrongs,' Mr Szeto said. Dissident John Shum Kin-fun said on Sunday that he had been promised a renewal of his permit with the help of Chief Executive Tung Chee-hwa, who also pledged to help other activists.