THE Government was urged yesterday to put pressure on China not to dilute the powers of the Bill of Rights. Democratic Party legislator Cheung Man-kwong urged Secretary for Constitutional Affairs Nicholas Ng Wing-fui to take up the issue when he met visiting Chinese Vice-Foreign Minister Jiang Enzhu and the State Council's Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office deputy director Chen Ziying. Mr Ng, he said, should seek clarification on whether the Preliminary Working Committee proposal to reduce the power of the bill represented the Chinese Government's position. Mr Ng said he would consider Mr Cheung's suggestion. There were many other 'suitable occasions and channels', as well as the Joint Liaison Group, for officials to impress on their mainland counterparts the territory's concerns, he said. It was everybody's duty, including legislators, to ensure a smooth transition by reflecting their views to Chinese authorities through their own channels. Legislators were not impressed with Mr Ng's reply. Legal constituency representative Margaret Ng Ngoi-yee asked: 'Apart from the Government's statement, are there no other channels to voice your concerns to Beijing?' She said after the Legco session that British officials should petition China on the 'ludicrous' nature of the PWC subgroup's recommendation. Mr Ng said the Bill of Rights did not contravene the Joint Declaration or the Basic Law. Both provided for the continued application of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights after 1997. At a separate briefing, the Attorney-General Jeremy Mathews said the PWC plan to amend ordinances changed by the Bill of Rights ran contrary to the Basic Law and would 'turn back the clock'. He said the recommendations of the subgroup were a retrograde step and undermined judicial certainty. Mr Mathews said the PWC's assertion that the Bill of Rights had over-riding powers was 'wrong in law' . It was also a sacrosanct feature underpinning the Joint Declaration, he said. 'I read these press reports with a good deal of unease and puzzlement,' Mr Mathews said. 'The PWC will have to explain to the community of Hong Kong how they think these proposals would not be in breach of the covenant. 'First of all, I have great difficulty as a lawyer with the assertion that the Bill of Rights enjoys some sort of superior status. In my view, that is not correct in law,' he said. 'I am very surprised that this should be asserted.' Mr Mathews said important laws had been amended by legislators specifically to remove inconsistencies with the covenant. WHAT IT MEANS IF THESE ORDINANCES ARE SCRAPPED Societies Amendment Ordinance 1992: Registration would be needed for the setting up of societies, which would no longer be allowed to have links with overseas political groups. Television Amendment Ordinance 1993: Exco would resume power to suspend a broadcaster's licence. The legal basis of Cable TV's licence would be in question. Telecommunication Amendment Ordinance 1993: Exco would resume the power to ban radio programmes deemed to be a threat to Hong Kong's order. Broadcasting Authority Amendment Ordinance 1993: Exco would resume the power to give directives to the Broadcasting Authority on sound broadcasts. Public Order Amendment Ordinance 1995: Licensing would be required for processions and the limit on the number of participants in protests and rallies without notification would be restored to 30 from 50, and to 20 from 30. Amendment to the Emergency Regulations in 1995: The Government would regain powers to impose martial law during civil unrest by controlling all forms of transport, and suppressing publications. Legislative Council Commission Ordinance 1994: The independence and legal standing of Legco's secretariat created under the legislation to formulate executive policy would be put in question. Amendment to the New Territories Land (Exemption) Ordinance 1994: Indigenous women residents would be barred from inheriting ancestral properties without the approval of their male relatives.