Beijing's rules for Hong Kong's next chief executive election have "won support and endorsement among the people of Hong Kong", China's top legislator and third-ranking official Zhang Dejiang said yesterday. The comments by Zhang, the chairman of the national legislature, contrast with the results of a South China Morning Po st poll that found nearly half of Hongkongers want lawmakers to veto an election model that complies with Beijing's rules. Zhang was speaking for the first time since the National People's Congress Standing Committee said only two or three candidates - each with support from half of a 1,200-strong nominating committee - would be allowed to run in the 2017 poll, Hong Kong's first under universal suffrage. His words came as Beijing's ambassador in London, Liu Xiaoming , slammed the "rankest hypocrisy" of people such as Hong Kong's last colonial governor, Chris Patten, who criticised China for not giving the city democracy after Britain did nothing to encourage it. Zhang told a delegation from the Beijing-loyalist Federation of Trade Unions at a meeting in the capital that the Standing Committee had made its decision "very solemnly after listening to opinions from different sectors in Hong Kong" and after "serious discussions and studies". It complied with the Basic Law, fitted Hong Kong's situation and showed the central government's sincerity about advancing democracy "in an orderly and gradual manner", he said. "Therefore, this decision, as I understand, has obtained support and endorsement among the general residents of Hong Kong." The Post 's poll of about 1,000 residents found that 48 per cent wanted lawmakers to veto the official proposal for the 2017 election if it followed Beijing's conditions. Almost 40 per cent said the Legislative Council should pass Beijing's framework. Pan-democratic lawmakers have vowed to veto electoral reforms if the government's proposals stick to Beijing's framework. But after a closed-door session with Zhang, FTU lawmaker Wong Kwok-kin quoted the NPC chairman as saying that he remained "optimistic" the government's proposals would be approved in the Legislative Council. Zhang is expected to meet the New People's Party in Beijing on Friday before joining President Xi Jinping in a high-level meeting on Monday, with a delegation of Hong Kong tycoons and business figures led by former chief executive Tung Chee-hwa. Liu, in a strongly worded article published in The Telegraph on Monday, criticised former colonial governor Patten for expressing "anachronistic and unhelpful" views on Hong Kong's political reform. Patten earlier condemned the Standing Committee's decision as a "denial" of democracy, and called for London to stand up to Beijing. The ambassador countered: "For more than a century and a half, Britain had total responsibility for the territory and did nothing to encourage or produce democracy. It is therefore the rankest hypocrisy of people such as Lord Patten to criticise China for any perceived failings to introduce democracy."