A Red-Faced China Vows to Ignore Hong Kong Vote

Article excerpt

CHINA stonily reiterated yesterday it would disband Hong Kong's elected legislature in the face of a stunning rebuke handed out by voters in the British colony. Beijing repeated its pledge to dismiss elected policymakers in 1997 when it takes over Hong Kong after pro-democracy candidates swept to a huge victory Sunday in the colony's last election under British rule. In China's perception, "The results of the ... elections showed that hope for a smooth transition and love of the motherland and Hong Kong remain the main trend in Hong Kong," says an official of the New China News Agency, Beijing's de facto embassy in the colony. "The attitude of the Chinese government on this issue is consistent and will not change," he continues. "We hope that those people chosen in the election ... can make the interests of the Hong Kong people their priority and work for the stability and prosperity of Hong Kong during the transition period." China has insisted that all representative bodies in the British-controlled administration will be annulled by June 30, 1997, because they were chosen under British political reforms pushed by Britain's last governor, Chris Patten, and were bitterly opposed by China. It has refused to say how the elected bodies would be changed, insisting it is an internal Chinese affair. Mr. Patten has called China's most recent challenge "characteristically unhelpful" and urged Beijing to "get a little more in tune with what people in Hong Kong think and do." As an open slap at Beijing, the pro-democracy candidates, regarded as subversive by Chinese officials, swept 16 of the 20 seats, which were directly elected by geographically based constituencies. …