Patten Slams Chinese Plans for Hong Kong

HONG KONG Gov. Chris Patten struck out at China yesterday over its plans to scrap the British colony's elected legislature and replace it with an obedient, rubber-stamp assembly.

Governor Patten also told reporters that he was willing to meet China's top official on Hong Kong affairs, Lu Ping, to discuss differences between Beijing and London over the colony's future.

Patten's remarks added to a controversy over what will happen to Hong Kong's Legislative Council, known as Legco, when Britain hands the thriving capitalist enclave of 6.3 million people back to China in July 1997.

Beijing has repeatedly said it will disband Legco because it was elected under Patten's democratic reforms, which China says breached a treaty agreed to with Britain for Hong Kong's hand-over.

Hong Kong's Democratic Party and independent democrats have attacked the plan as proof that China intends to remold Hong Kong in its own image rather than allow it autonomy as envisaged under the London agreement.

Arrangements for the July 1, 1997, transfer of sovereignty have been hampered by poor relations between China and Patten.

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