Sino-British talks end badly

The last full session of Sino-British talks before the transfer of Hong Kong's sovereignty ended yesterday, with both sides expressing disappointment.

According to the Chinese, Britain is being obdurate about the transfer of assets and has not done enough to clear Hong Kong of Vietnamese boat people. Britain is frustrated with China's reluctance to talk about civil liberty laws, the status of its rival legislature and the right of abode in Hong Kong. But both sides have agreed on arrangements for the handover ceremony, which will last a mere 45 minutes.