Two former local deputies to the National People's Congress have rebutted a claim by an official at the central government liaison office that there are 'two governing teams' in Hong Kong. They said the remark distorted Deng Xiaoping's idea and would 'do harm' to Hong Kong. Ng Hong-mun and Allen Lee Peng-fei were responding to an article by Cao Erbao that appeared in the Communist Party school newspaper Study Times in January last year. Mr Cao, the liaison office's head of research, argued that a team of mainland cadres had formed a second 'governing team' in the city after the handover. Mr Ng, an NPC delegate for 32 years who retired from the post in 2007, said the People's Liberation Army in Hong Kong, the Foreign Ministry's local office and the liaison office were not governing teams. 'There is a need to nurture cadres familiar with Hong Kong and Macau affairs, but not to form another governing team in Hong Kong,' Mr Ng wrote in a commentary in yesterday's Ming Pao. The veteran pro-Beijing figure said it was a 'great invention' for Mr Cao to interpret Beijing's constitutional power to rule Hong Kong as the existence of another governing team in the city. 'There have not been any such 'important changes' by the central government, not to mention the existence of any 'important governing force' of 'central government and mainland cadres',' he wrote. 'Even putting forward this theory of two parallel governing teams is very harmful.' Mr Lee, a veteran politician who played a role in the establishment of the special administrative region, criticised Mr Cao for twisting the late state leader Deng's remarks. 'I was one of the Hongkongers who met Deng Xiaoping in Beijing. He was clear in telling us that Hong Kong would only see a flag changed and a person changed in 1997. It was totally not Deng's idea to intervene in Hong Kong's politics.' In his essay, Mr Cao quoted Deng's remarks extensively to argue that Beijing should help Hong Kong solve problems when necessary. Mr Lee said Mr Cao's comments reflected that the liaison office was 'more and more rampantly interfering with the SAR government's authority'. 'I do not know whether what he said was representing the Communist Politburo's idea or it was some subordinating bodies trying to seek bigger power ... But if a second governing team exists ... the SAR government will become a lame duck.' The liaison office dismissed criticism of Mr Cao's article last week. One day after the Chinese-language Apple Daily ran a report on the essay, a spokesman for the office was quoted by the Hong Kong China News Agency as saying a local media organisation was 'talking nonsense'.