Hongkongers must demonstrate that they can contribute to the nation's development or face the loss of core values such as rule of law when Beijing's pledges under the "one country, two systems" principle expire in 2047, a former financial chief warned yesterday. Antony Leung Kam-chung also indicated he saw no threat to press freedom in the city, as newspapers were "criticising" the government every day. His comments, at a high-profile forum yesterday on the city's role in national development, are the latest in a series of interventions by the former official which have stoked speculation he will return to public life as a candidate for chief executive in 2017 Speaking of Beijing's pledge that the city's capitalist system and way of life would remain unchanged for 50 years after the 1997 handover, he said: "If we hope that after 25 or 32 years, in 2047, Hong Kong will remain prosperous and stable, and people can continue to enjoy our core values such as freedom, democracy, equality and the rule of law, we must prove that Hong Kong, under the 'one country, two systems' principle, is here to contribute to the country, and not to make trouble." But Labour Party lawmaker Cyd Ho Sau-lan disagreed, arguing after the forum that the "prosperity and stability of a place hinges on whether there are fair systems in place" rather than on its economic contribution. We must prove that Hong Kong ... is here to contribute to the country Antony Leung In a question-and-answer session during the forum, Democratic Party chairwoman Emily Lau Wai-hing asked whether Leung knew some journalists felt press freedom and free speech were "under threat from Beijing". Lau was booed by fellow attendees at the forum, organised by the semi-official Chinese Association of Hong Kong and Macau Studies. One man stood and shouted: "Hong Kong is the freest and the most democratic!" Responding to Lau, Leung said: "Hong Kong still has freedom of press, otherwise the newspapers wouldn't be so fiercely critical of the government every day." After applause, Leung said he hoped the government, politicians and the public could refrain from "looking at problems from an attitude of confrontation and struggle". He added: "Politicians must know … the key to political victory lies with the people's heart. This cannot be achieved by confrontation alone." Leung spoke a week after Beijing's liaison office chief, Zhang Xiaoming , sparked debate by saying the position of chief executive "transcends" the executive, legislative and judicial branches. Zhang faced claims he was redefining key concepts of "one country, two systems". The Law Society said it would "reiterate two fundamental principles deserving the strongest support from the community: the importance of an independent judiciary to the rule of law; and the professionalism and integrity of the judiciary".