ZHUO LIN, the wife of patriarch Deng Xiaoping, is in hospital with an unknown ailment. Political sources said deterioration in the health of Ms Zhou, 11 years younger than Mr Deng, had caused the recent 'spate of nervousness' in the family household and among senior cadres. The sources said although Mr Deng, 90, remained weak, he was in 'relatively stable condition' and his death was not imminent. A source denied reports Mr Deng's five children had been asked last week to remain in Beijing in anticipation of his death. 'One Deng offspring who is in business has just returned from an overseas trip,' the source said. 'They are keeping to their usual routines and have not cancelled trips out of the capital.' Rumours were circulating in Hong Kong that Xinhua (the New China News Agency) would hold a press conference at 3 pm today to announce his death. A Xinhua spokesman in Beijing denied knowledge of such a press conference and confirmed the Chief Architect of Reform was still alive. The State Council has also denied the stories. The Hang Seng Index dropped 219 points on the rumours, closing at 8,285. 'It's really quite funny that the Hong Kong market reacts so strongly to rumours with no basis in fact,' said an official at a Chinese bank.