Peking in New Year blast over Hong Kong

PEKING (Reuter) - China hit out at Britain yesterday over plans to widen democracy in Hong Kong, ringing out a year of ugly bickering and portending more tension as the colony's 1997 return to Chinese rule draws near. Senior leaders and state media took different tacks, ranging from Communist Party chief Jiang Zemin's attack on London's 'wrong stand' to Xinhua news agency's dark blasts at the Hong Kong Governor, Chris Patten, and Britain's alleged ulterior motives. 'Our resolution to restore China's sovereignty over Hong Kong will not change,' Mr Jiang said. 'The time when Britain can dominate the world with its gunboat diplomacy is gone for good and you should no longer dream the beautiful dream of being imperialists again.'