Emily Lau adjusts her political foe Regina Ip's microphone for a talk show
An American scholar who specializes in democracy studies addressed a seminar via Skype about Hong Kong's political reform, which he dismissed as "an insult to the intelligence of the Hong Kong public".
Professor Larry Diamond said universal suffrage without "real choice" was meaningless.
"People who want a free society and who really believe in democracy should stand up, not only for their rights, but also for their dignity," he said. "I just think the [political reform] proposal is frankly an insult not only to democratic aspirations but to the intelligence of the Hong Kong public to suggest that this is one type of democratic alternative.
"This is like saying [Iran] is another type of democratic alternative. No one would interpret... that merely universal suffrage would be enough.
"There is universal suffrage in Saddam Hussein's Iraq," Diamond continues. "Everybody could vote. They just had effectively only one choice. And there was no freedom of choice."
While the professor is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution and directs the Centre on Democracy, Development and the Rule of Law at Stanford University, he was also thesis adviser to Regina Ip Lau Suk-yee, who went to the California university to study a Master's degree in East Asian Studies after she quit as Secretary for Security in 2003.
When asked if Ip would seek Diamond's advice on the government's reform proposal, she quipped, "Why do I have to ask him? I know the Basic Law better than he does."