Minister makes first return to Hong Kong

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The Independent Online
Lord Irvine, the Lord Chancellor, will visit Hong Kong next week - the first Cabinet minister to make an official visit since the handover to China on 1 July.

The Lord Chancellor's Department said the purpose of the visit was to "further the close relationship between the judicial and legal systems of Britain and Hong Kong".

Lord Irvine is already a known figure in the Hong Kong legal community after appearing in a series of cases in the Hong Kong High Court and Court of Appeal.

One case for the Hong Kong and Shanghai Bank, at the time of the signing of the Joint Declaration in 1984, lasted so long that his two sons attended school in the former British colony.He said yesterday: "British ministers hope that Hong Kong can be a bridge not a barrier in our relations with China."