Chinese document reveals Hong Kong riot fears

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The Independent Online
Hong Kong (Reuter) - A magazine yesterday said it had obtained a leaked internal document prepared for the Peking leadership predicting violent riots could erupt in the territory upon its hand-over to China next year.

The independent Chinese-language monthly Cheng Ming quoted the document as saying that rioting stirred up by Taiwan and US interests seeking to embarrass Peking may rock Hong Kong after it is handed back to China at midnight on 30 June 1997.

"In the early days of the [post-1997] government, under the guidance of US anti-Chinese interests and with the support of Taiwan authorities, violent and armed riots could occur in Hong Kong," the magazine quoted the document as saying.

Cheng Ming said the document was prepared by Peking's Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office, the department responsible for the transition of the British colony to Chinese rule. It added that the document predicted foreign investment in Hong Kong could drop by 20 to 80 per cent during the transition period, driving many Hong Kong professionals to emigrate and civil servants to take early retirement.

The projected collapse in investment and potential for violence are separate topics in the document. The investment decline could begin in the last quarter this year and stretch into 1998.

The document predicted Britain would continue to play its "democracy card" and "public opinion card" after the hand-over, with the aim of retaining influence in the community of 6 million people, the magazine said. It said the analysis predicted an increasing number of western, anti-Chinese organisations would set up in Hong Kong.

The colonial administration had deliberately liberalised Hong Kong laws to let international anti-Chinese, anti-communist organisations legally operate and interfere in the territory's affairs after 1997.

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