The government condemned on Friday the University of Hong Kong associate law professor Benny Tai for suggesting the SAR could consider becoming an independent state.
Tai, one of the leaders of the 2014 Occupy movement, reportedly made the remarks in Taiwan while attending a forum organised by a group that advocates the independence of the island.
China not only has to become a democratic country, but Chinese people, including Hongkongers, should think about whether or not they want to set up an independent state or a federal government, Tai said.
Responding to media enquiries, a government spokesman said advocating independence for Hong Kong is not in line with the Basic Law, or One Country, Two Systems, and Hong Kong's overall and long-term interests.
"The Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Government is shocked by the remarks made by a university teaching staff member that Hong Kong could consider becoming an independent state, and strongly condemns such remarks," the spokesman said.
In response, Tai said he's disappointed the government put out the statement before knowing all the facts, adding that there's nothing new about what he said.
He also questioned whether or not the government's statement was intended to pave the way for the introduction of national security laws, and to suppress the discussion and imagination of Hong Kong and the mainland's future.