The authorities in Hong Kong have unveiled reforms to the way the territory is governed.
Democracy activists are demanding a timetable for change
Announcing the package of reforms to legislators, Chief Secretary Rafael Hui said it was a significant step towards the goal of universal suffrage.
Among the changes, the size of the committee which picks the top leader, the chief executive, is to be doubled.
Beijing has already ruled out universal suffrage in Hong Kong in the near future.
The main suggestions announced by Mr Hui include expanding the membership of the election committee from 800 people to 1,600 people, and expanding the legislature, the Legislative Council, by 10 seats - five of which would be directly elected by the public.
Legislators will be asked to approve the changes in December.
The government wants the changes to be effective for leadership elections in 2007 and the legislative election in 2008.
"Although constitutional development in 2007-2008 will not take us immediately to the ultimate aim of universal suffrage, it is a substantive and significant step toward that goal," Mr Hui said.
But the plan drew criticism from some lawmakers, who pointed out that there was still no time frame for full democracy in the territory.
The Associated Press quoted pro-democracy lawmaker Leung Yiu-chung as telling Mr Hui: "Because we aren't given a timetable, we don't know how we'll move toward universal suffrage. So why should we support this package of proposals?"
Beijing has ruled out direct elections in 2007, and insists they should only take place when the territory is ready - a comment Mr Hui repeated on Wednesday.
"Only when the conditions are ripe and the supporting measures ready, and the community has reached a high degree of consensus on the pace of introducing universal suffrage, will a timetable for introducing universal suffrage be meaningful," he said.