Hong Kong's Chief Executive Donald Tsang has apologised for suggesting that China's Cultural Revolution was an extreme form of democracy.
Mr Tsang said he was "very sorry" for the "inappropriate" remarks
Mr Tsang came under fire for citing the Cultural Revolution to argue that social stability should not be sacrificed for democratic development.
The Cultural Revolution was an extreme example of people taking power into their own hands, he told RTHK radio.
A statement from Mr Tsang said he would like to retract his comments.
"I am very sorry that I made an inappropriate remark concerning the Cultural Revolution during a radio interview yesterday, and I wish to retract that remark," he said in a statement on Saturday.
Mr Tsang has consistently been criticised by pro-democracy groups, who question his commitment to fuller democracy for Hong Kong.
Mr Tsang was speaking to government radio RTHK on Friday.
"People can go to the extreme like what we saw during the Cultural Revolution. For instance, in China, when people take everything into their own hands, then you cannot govern the place," he said.
When challenged that the Cultural Revolution was not really an example of democracy, Mr Tsang said "[It] was the people taking power into their own hands. Now that is what you mean by democracy if you take it to the full swing."
He was broadly criticised for the remarks by pro-democracy lawmakers.
China's 10-year Cultural Revolution caused huge social upheaval and was marked by political purges, jailings, killings and suicides.