HONG KONG'S functional constituencies were attacked as 'total denial of democracy' at the United Nations yesterday. They amounted to 'inequality writ large', said Profullochandra Bhagwati of India, one of the members of the committee examining Hong Kong's compliance with the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. In the first questioning of the British and Hong Kong governments, several members of the 17-strong committee called on the authorities to continue to do more to promote democracy in the territory. In his opening statement, Solicitor-General Daniel Fung said the Hong Kong Government was proud of its record of strengthening and promoting human rights protection. 'The Hong Kong Government has carefully charted a course between the demands of those who want far-reaching and immediate changes and the more conservative elements of the community who would prefer to see as little change as possible,' he said. All members of the committee appeared to agree that China or Hong Kong would be obliged to continue to report to the UN on human rights in the territory after 1997. But they called on Britain to make clear where the difficulties lay with Beijing. They also attacked what some saw as existing human rights abuses. Andreas Mavrommatis, of Cyprus, claimed the existing electoral system was in breach of the human rights covenant. 'I detect some sort of effort to prolong the inequities that exist now,' he said. In wide-ranging questioning, he also condemned the 'shock' conditions of the territory's cage-men. He said none of the Government's representatives on the committee would survive if such conditions existed in their own countries and said a territory with a per capita income like Hong Kong's should take action. Mr Mavrommatis said the clock of history would turn back several decades if China failed to report to the UN on human rights in future. There was a lot more to be done now, he said. Members claimed that the Bill of Rights Ordinance had a serious deficiency in that it did not allow individuals to take action against individuals. Nisuke Ando, of Japan, called on the British Government to explain what was the major obstacle that prevented China agreeing to report in future. He said: 'There seems to be a great difficulty. Is it possible to overcome this deadlock?' Germany's Eckhart Klein was concerned about self-censorship in the media among other issues. 'There seems to be a pre-effect of the coming Chinese rule,' he said. For the British Government, Henry Steel said London firmly believed that Beijing must continue to report to the committee. It had described to the Chinese Government the reporting procedures under the covenant and how the UK currently fulfilled its obligations in respect of Hong Kong, he said.