FOREIGN Secretary Malcolm Rifkind yesterday called on China to respond 'in a very sensitive way' to the Preliminary Working Committee's attacks on the Bill of Rights. After talks with Governor Chris Patten at the Foreign Office, Mr Rifkind appeared keen to play down the PWC's proposals to strip the Bill of Rights of its main powers. The proposals had come from a working group and had not been accepted, he said. 'I know the Chinese Government is anxious to ensure nothing is done that could damage confidence in Hong Kong and amongst the people of Hong Kong,' Mr Rifkind said after the talks. 'We very much look forward to the Chinese Government responding in a very sensitive way to a matter which is clearly of importance to the people of Hong Kong.' He added: 'I am sure they will be wishing to look at all the implications before coming to a view on those recommendations.' Mr Patten said concern had been expressed from across the Hong Kong community, including some advisers to China. He said the PWC sub-group's advice was 'potentially damaging'. What the people of Hong Kong wanted was reassurance. 'I hope that wiser counsel will in due course prevail,' he said. In the first round of talks since Chinese Foreign Minister Qian Qichen's visit to London, Mr Patten and Mr Rifkind also discussed the need to reach agreement on the continuation of Legco through 1997. Mr Rifkind said it was 'the democratic wish of the people of Hong Kong' that the Legislative Council should complete its proper term of office. Mr Patten spent much of the rest of yesterday in talks with Jeremy Hanley, Foreign Officer Minister with special responsibility for Hong Kong. He is to meet Mr Rifkind again today. The PWC attack was raised in the House of Lords where Baroness Chalker, the Overseas Development Minister, said the group did not necessarily express Chinese government policy. She called on members of the Lords to try and meet Mr Patten this week and denied suggestions that he had been pushed to one side in the recent talks with Mr Qian. Labour's new spokesman on Hong Kong is Derek Fatchett, MP for Leeds Central.