The chief executive risks a public outcry as large as the one over the national security bill in 2003 if he kills off RTHK, a former lawmaker, executive councillor and National People's Congress member has warned. Veteran politician turned commentator Allen Lee Peng-fei said yesterday that those who supported converting RTHK into the new public broadcaster proposed by government advisers should continue their vocal protests and 'let [Donald Tsang Yam-kuen] know'. 'Donald's support [from Beijing] really comes about because of his public ratings. It is on the basis of his public ratings that China picked him,' Mr Lee told a Unicef lunch. Mr Lee warned Mr Tsang to be careful in handling the future of RTHK, saying it was a broadcaster that has been close to people's hearts for 80 years. 'If [Mr Tsang] shuts down RTHK, he will have to pay a very high political price,' said Mr Lee, who hosts a political show on RTHK. An advisory committee has said Hong Kong needs an independent public broadcaster but that RTHK, with its civil service roots, is unsuitable to be turned into the new entity. An online petition and a vigil as part of the Save RTHK Campaign is planned for next Tuesday. Regarding press freedom in Hong Kong, Mr Lee said it was a fact of life that 'powerful people will try to influence the media' but the city was still 'a free place' and journalists should fight efforts to influence them.