Patten calls for new initiative on HK

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Hong Kong - The Governor of Hong Kong, Chris Patten, is expected tomorrow to make a gesture to China in the hope of ending the present stalemate over Hong Kong, writes Teresa Poole.

In his annual policy address, the Governor will stress that nothing has changed. But he will also offer a formula which in practice could allow increased contacts between the Hong Kong government and the Preliminary Working Committee (PWC), unilaterally set up by China as a vehicle for its own plans for the transfer of sovereignty in 1997.

Chinese officials have said that Hong Kong's co-operation with the PWC is a prerequisite for co-operation from China on other issues. At the moment, the colony's senior civil servants are banned from formal contact with the PWC.