Patten delays HK reform bill

HONG KONG (Reuter) - Governor Chris Patten postponed publication of his democratic reform Bill yesterday, but the key question of whether China would accept talks to resolve a dispute over Hong Kong's future went unanswered.

Mr Patten's spokesman said the legislation, based on electoral reforms which have provoked furious opposition from Peking, would not appear in today's official gazette.

Hong Kong had been in suspense for a fortnight over whether Mr Patten might drop a self-imposed deadline for publication at the end of February.