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THE WORLD | IN BRIEF / CHINA

Blair Gently Raises Democracy Issue

July 22, 2003|From Times Wire Reports

Prime Minister Tony Blair called for "greater democracy" in Hong Kong but raised the sensitive issue carefully while praising his Chinese hosts for cooperation on North Korea and other issues. On the third leg of an Asia tour, Blair held what he called "excellent and important" talks with Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao and President Hu Jintao.

Blair said Hong Kong's leader, Chief Executive Tung Chee-hwa, had chosen a "sensible way to proceed" by promising to consult with the public over a proposed national security law that critics say would hurt civil liberties.

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