China vows to scrap elected HK bodies
China was also incensed by the British government's publication of a White Paper which gave details of the 17 rounds of talks held last year in a fruitless effort to reach a compromise on the Governor's plans. An introduction by the Foreign Secretary, Douglas Hurd, says China's proposals for the last round of elections under British rule 'would have restricted choice and left the elections open to manipulation'. The door remained open for talks, said Mr Hurd, but China retorted that Britain had violated secrecy, 'closing completely the door for resuming the talks'.
Hong Kong government sources were unperturbed yesterday, saying the Chinese reaction was as expected. The stock market, however, after having ignored the Sino-British war of words for weeks, appeared to suffer an attack of nerves. Further falls could reawaken fears that Chinese hostility might damage Hong Kong's economy, although Peking has sought to reassure the business community that it wants to separate political and economic issues. The proof of this, say officials, will be whether China continues to block progress on projects such as the colony's new airport.
Yesterday Mr Patten congratulated Hong Kong's Legislative Council for supporting the initial part of his reforms, after an unusually passionate debate. 'Nobody can turn the clock back,' he said, confirming that he would formally publish the bill containing the main part of his proposals today and introduce it for debate in a fortnight. Several weeks of debate are likely, with final passage due by July.
The package to be put to the legislature will be the one first outlined by the Governor in October 1992, without the many concessions offered to the Chinese in an attempt to win their approval. The most controversial provision is to create nine new seats in which all of Hong Kong's 2.7 million workers will have a vote. Peking, by contrast, wanted an electorate of only 20,000.
Although the first part of the measures passed without amendment, official sources expect far more debate over Mr Patten's main proposals, which could be substantially changed. Provided that the 1995 elections could still be seen to be fair and open, said a source, the authorities would be prepared to accept a package closer to the one discussed with China than to the original. But some pro-democracy legislators want to push in the opposite direction, and may propose an amendment calling for all 60 members of the council to be directly elected.
- 2 Italian police 'reveal' what Jesus looked like as a young boy
- 3 General Election 2015: 14-year-old boy asks Nick Clegg – 'can you kill Katie Hopkins?'
- 4 University student in court for allegedly covering housemates' food in window cleaner and spit
- 5 Ryan Gosling posts tribute to 'Ryan Gosling Won't Eat His Cereal' creator Ryan McHenry
Italian police 'reveal' what Jesus looked like as a young boy
Who should I vote for? The Independent quiz matches best political party for undecided voters ahead of the general election
Mysterious 'X-Files' sounds heard miles above the Earth
Garland shooting: Isis claims attack on Prophet Mohamed cartoon contest in Texas as its first action on US soil
Met Gala 2015: Beyoncé manages to out-skimp Rihanna, Miley and Kim Kardashian combined with near-naked ensemble
In defence of liberal democracy
Over 50,000 families shipped out of London boroughs in the past three years due to welfare cuts and soaring rents
EU asylum policy is 'a direct threat to our civilisation', says Nigel Farage
The Rothschild Libel: Why has it taken 200 years for an anti-Semitic slur that emerged from the Battle of Waterloo to be dismissed?
General Election 2015: UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power, Labour warns
General election live: SNP suspends two members for disrupting Labour rally
£13676.46 - £16411.61 per annum + OTE: SThree: SThree Trainee Recruitment Cons...
£18000 - £22000 per annum + training: Ashdown Group: Business and Marketing Gr...
£20000 - £25000 per annum + Commission: SThree: Are you great at building rela...
£20000 - £22000 per annum + excellent benefits: Ashdown Group: Application Sup...