THE Chief Justice, Sir Ti Liang Yang, yesterday urged China to give a free hand to the future Special Administrative Region (SAR) to decide the fate of the Bill of Rights. Sir Ti Liang said he felt uneasy about public disquiet in the past few days over recent proposals made by the Preliminary Working Committee's (PWC) legal sub-group. Until yesterday, Sir Ti Liang had maintained silence on the issue, saying that he, as much as any judicial officer, should not get involved in the controversy - even from the legal point of view. He was concerned that the issue had become emotional and political and felt he should not comment. But yesterday he said that the public reaction had been very strong. 'There has already been a shocking impact on the community. I feel very uneasy. 'There are now lots of problems [facing the community.] The fears and anxieties of the public will be aroused if we raise new problems.' Sir Ti Liang made plain that there was no need to make hasty changes to the Bill of Rights Ordinance, which was implemented only four years ago. 'It is an internal matter for Hong Kong and should be left to the SAR. 'Under the policy of 'one country, two systems' and 'Hong Kong people ruling Hong Kong', this is neither a matter of defence nor foreign affairs,' he said, referring to the Basic Law's stipulation of matters which were to be the sole province of the central Government. 'The Bill of Rights is not a matter relating to the relationship between the central Government and the SAR or one that might have to be dealt with by the central Government. 'It appears to be a matter for Hong Kong. Can we leave it to the SAR for further study?' he said. Locals were concerned about the protection of human rights as well as social stability and prosperity, he said. Sir Ti Liang urged the PWC to allow more time for people to absorb and understand its proposals. The PWC, he said, should also listen more to the views of the community, particularly the legal profession. Three visiting mainland legal experts - Shao Tianren, Xiao Weiyun and Wu Jianfan - are scheduled to leave the territory today after lecturing a selected group of local advisers and media executives. Sir Ti Liang said he had talked to one of them on the telephone, but they did not touch on the human rights ordinance. Responding to Sir Ti Liang's remarks, Deputy Director of Xinhua (the New China News Agency) Zhang Junsheng said the issue of how to deal with the Bill of Rights was a matter relating to the transition. This was so because the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress (NPC) would have to declare which laws in Hong Kong should remain in force after 1997 upon the establishment of the SAR. Mr Zhang added that the upcoming meetings of the Sino-British Joint Liaison Group (JLG) should discuss why the British Hong Kong Government had amended a lot of Hong Kong laws in the run-up to 1997 rather than what the PWC legal sub-group was suggesting would happen after 1997. The PWC sub-group has proposed that the NPC Standing Committee declare key provisions of the bill and six related amendment ordinances to be unconstitutional after 1997. It said the Chinese legislature should at the same time decree that the six original ordinances be reinstated. Governor Chris Patten said on his return from London yesterday that he hoped Chinese officials would listen carefully to the views expressed by the community. The British side would raise it at the JLG plenum to be held in Beijing tomorrow, he said. A source close to the JLG was not optimistic. He said it would be difficult to have a 'meeting of minds'. A senior government official said, however, it was a real test to see how the Chinese Government treated local views, saying that even many China-appointed advisers did not support the PWC proposals. Mr Zhang stressed that the JLG would only discuss in general terms the issue of British moves to amend laws in the transition period - not specifically on the PWC proposal. In an RTHK programme, Liberal Party leader Allen Lee Peng-fei said he would submit a paper on the implementation and impact of the Bill of Rights to the NPC. 'It is my own view, the Bill of Rights has served Hong Kong,' he said.