Wu Jianfan, one of the four so-called 'guardians' of the Basic Law on the mainland, has died at the age of 78 in Beijing, Xinhua reported yesterday. Wu was among mainland legal experts who last December warned that electoral reform was not something Hong Kong could decide on alone. He was one of the four mainland legal experts involved in the Basic Law drafting process. Together with Shao Tianren, Xiao Weiyun and Xu Chongde, he earned himself the title of 'guardian' of the Basic Law. It is understood Wu, who died on Thursday, had been suffering from cancer. He had become relatively low profile on the democracy issue. A brief announcement from Xinhua yesterday praised him for his expertise on criminal litigation, as well as statutes involving Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan. 'During the drafting process of Hong Kong and Macau's basic law, he gave many [people] valuable advice,' the report said. The legal expert had been closely involved in Hong Kong's transitional issues and had advised on the interpretation of the Basic Law on right of abode in 1999. He was also a former mainland member of the Basic Law committee under the National People's Congress Standing Committee, and a research fellow at the Chinese Academy of Social Science's Institute of Law.