CHINA'S top official in charge of Hong Kong affairs, Lu Ping, says he is willing to hold an unprecedented meeting with Chief Secretary Anson Chan Fang On-sang when he visits the territory on May 15. He said he would be glad to meet Mrs Chan and the other policy secretaries if 'time was available' during his week-long trip. But Mr Lu, the Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office Director, will again snub Governor Chris Patten. Speaking after meeting Mr Lu, Legislative Councillor Chim Pui-chung said: 'He was very clear and firm that the present circumstances did not allow a meeting between him and the Governor. 'But if time is available, he is absolutely willing to meet the Chief Secretary on an unconditional basis. He will also meet other officials in Beijing or other places on the same basis,' Mr Chim said of Mr Lu. According to the China News Service, Mr Lu said Beijing welcomed contacts with civil servants because it wanted a stable civil service. Such meetings were definitely not 'so-called political vetting'. Mr Lu dismissed as 'ridiculous' reports that Beijing wanted to put in place a higher authority than the Court of Final Appeal. He accused 'someone of trying to create confusion' by saying that the court would only be empowered to handle economic-related cases. The Basic Law, he said, already provided the power of final adjudication and an independent judiciary to the Special Administrative Region. A source said the British side remained unclear about what China meant by the need for a 'post-verdict judicial remedy'. The court would have its own mechanism to deal with cases when new evidence emerged after a verdict was given, something which is currently covered by a pardon from the Governor, he said. One principle was that a person could not undergo a second trial after the court had passed a not-guilty verdict, the source said. 'There's no question that if an error is found in the trial he has to face a retrial because the court is final,' he said.