THE United Nations Human Rights Committee is to try to put pressure on Britain to ensure China maintains measures to protect human rights in Hong Kong. The leader of the Legislative Council's delegation to Geneva, Emily Lau Wai-hing, yesterday said the UN committee's unprecedented demand for another report and hearing next year would enourage London to make sure Beijing continued to implement the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. She hoped it would force Britain to come up with 'something new' to ensure continued reporting by either China or the Special Administrative Region government. Otherwise, Britain would produce the same report as it did this year. Ms Lau said implementing the covenant was the responsibility of both sovereigns under the Joint Declaration. During the two-day hearing, UN committee members asked British officials how they would ensure China complied with its share of the agreement, wondering if Britain was engaged in 'quiet diplomacy'. UN committee members had also branded the Preliminary Working Committee's proposal to dilute the Bill of Rights and freeze certain laws as a potential threat and an ominous sign of China's commitment to the human rights covenant. Legal experts representing Hong Kong explained the proposals to the panel, which expressed particular concern over articles 39 and 18, and feared the international covenant's standing had been downgraded, Ms Lau said. She admitted the UN committee did not have power to ensure China complied with the covenant as it was not a signatory. But the committee clearly expressed its concern to mainland observers at the hearing. 'Whether we can persuade the Chinese Government remains to be seen,' Ms Lau said. 'But I think the committee sent a message to China that it would be a breach of their responsibility.' Another unprecedented move - inviting about 30 non-government representatives from Hong Kong, including legislators - to air their views at an informal hearing, emphasised the UN committee's concern for the territory. Ms Lau said the five-member Legco team had been impressed by the committee's extensive knowledge of Hong Kong.