CHINA'S working panel on the transition yesterday accused Governor Chris Patten of breaching the Joint Declaration by refusing Beijing sensitive information on senior government officials. Xiao Weiyun, mainland co-convenor of the Preliminary Working Committee's political sub-group, said it was wrong for the Hong Kong Government to only hand such information to the chief executive of the post-1997 government. 'The Joint Declaration states clearly that matters concerning the handover are matters for the two sides, so why has Mr Patten said they would hand over the information to the chief executive but not Beijing?' Mr Xiao said. Mr Xiao also attacked the Secretary for Civil Service, Michael Sze Cho-cheung, for saying the confidential information would be sent to London. 'The matter involves the foreign relationship between the two countries and the implementation of the Joint Declaration. What's their intention in delivering the information to London? 'Beijing should have a basic understanding about the civil servants in their recruitment and appointments . . . How can there be a smooth transition and stable handover if they [British officials] take away all this information?' Mr Xiao said. Mr Xiao dismissed the claim that handing over such information might stir fears among senior civil servants that they were being politically screened. 'The PWC's sub-committee on civil servants understand their views and will handle the matter properly,' Mr Xiao said. Hong Kong co-convenor Leung Chun-ying said the information was essential for the central Government to appoint principal officers as provided for in the Basic Law. 'While the chief executive has the information to nominate, it is impossible for the central Government to make the appointment if it is deprived of such details. 'We should make clear it is a genuine appointment. No matter through which channels the information is obtained, the most important thing is that we have the details.' Mr Leung said a 'genuine' appointment meant the central Government could veto it. A Hong Kong government spokesman said last night that the civil service's transition was being discussed in the Joint Liaison Group. 'But I am sure that the community will understand our concern not to damage the confidence and morale of civil servants in the way in which we handle personal and confidential information about civil servants.'