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World IN BRIEF : HONG KONG

China, Britain Feud Over Civil Liberties

January 22, 1997|From Times Wire Reports

Chinese and British officials traded verbal salvos over Beijing's plans to curtail Hong Kong's civil liberties, with Gov. Chris Patten promising that London will lodge a diplomatic protest and explore other steps to block the moves, while a Chinese spokesman warned bluntly that today's China is strong enough to maintain its position. With outrage swirling in Hong Kong, China's designated chief executive for the territory, Tung Chee-hwa, continued to maintain his silence on the issue, despite pleas from several quarters that he speak out against the proposed changes to demonstrate his willingness to stand up for Hong Kong's rights. Tung is scheduled to take office July 1, when Hong Kong is transferred from British to Chinese rule.

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