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THE WEEK AHEAD

HONG KONG : Brinkmanship?

March 02, 1993

Stock speculators, pro-democracy leaders and many ordinary citizens are waiting anxiously this week to see whether London and Beijing move toward cooperation or confrontation over this British colony's future.

If Sino-British negotiations over planned political reforms here do not open very soon, the government is considered likely to move unilaterally with publication of a proposed law expanding local democracy.

The reforms would provide for the people of Hong Kong to elect a majority of the Legislative Council in 1995. China, which resumes sovereignty here in 1997, bitterly opposes the law. Chinese threats related to the controversy have on previous occasions sent the local stock market plunging, but pro-democracy activists say Hong Kong should not cave in to pressure.

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