With the government consultation period having less than a month to run, tycoon Richard Li Tzar-kai yesterday threw his weight behind the introduction of universal suffrage 'as soon as possible'. The PCCW chairman said advocating democracy did not equate to being unpatriotic. He said he would support a candidate who was capable and committed to Hong Kong, amid growing speculation that he was one of the behind-the-scenes supporters of former chief secretary Anson Chan Fang On-sang running in December's Legislative Council by-election. A source said Mr Li was likely to make a submission in an individual capacity to the government's green paper on universal suffrage. The three-month consultation closes on October 10. Mr Li was speaking to the South China Morning Post at a forum on the green paper he hosted for the information technology sector. His father, Li Ka-shing, chairman of Cheung Kong (Holdings), has close ties with state leaders and is a staunch supporter of Chief Executive Donald Tsang Yam-kuen. Richard Li stunned political circles when he campaigned under the slogan of 'genuine democracy' in the campaign last year to sit on the 800-member Election Committee to choose the chief executive. On polling day for the chief executive election he said: 'I hope that on the same day five years later, I can vote alongside the general public.' Yesterday, Mr Li responded to reports over his support for Mrs Chan by saying: 'I fully support more capable and committed people to stand in elections.' Asked if he would support universal suffrage in 2012, he said: 'I would say again I hope there will be universal suffrage as soon as possible.' He said the mainland was also moving towards a more democratic system. 'Actually, democracy is not tantamount to [being] unpatriotic. We can see that our country is moving down the road of having more democracy.' Asked if he had funded Mrs Chan for December's poll, he said he was not aware of such a request from her and had not donated any money to her. A source said Mr Li, who invited Civic Party legislators Audrey Eu Yuet-mee and Ronny Tong Ka-wah to attend the forum, had already declared his position through 'political gestures'. Mrs Chan's allies confirmed last night her platform would be to seek universal suffrage in 2012.