CHINA said yesterday the Preliminary Working Committee's (PWC) sub-group proposals to overturn key provisions of the Bill of Rights are official. The statement was made by a deputy director of the Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office, Wang Fengchao, as British negotiators in the Joint Liaison Group (JLG) prepared to urge China at a plenum starting in Beijing today not to endorse the much-criticised recommendations. Mr Wang said: 'The opinion of the PWC is a reflection of the stance of the Chinese side. Regarding the Bill of Rights, we made clear our opposition in 1991.' He said the Chinese side would only enter talks with their British counterparts at the JLG on fears the Government would keep tinkering with the statute book in the transition period. British JLG leader Hugh Davies warned that it would send an 'extremely bad signal' if China went ahead with the proposals to declare parts of the bill unconstitutional. 'We believe there has been a misunderstanding of the legal basis,' he said. 'We hope, therefore that we will give them pause and enable them to think again.' A senior government source said Mr Wang's remarks made it more important for the two sides to discuss the issue at the official forum in light of the public reaction over the legal sub-group proposals. But 'it is difficult to see a way out' of the PWC proposals in view of the statements by Chinese officials and experts, the source said, adding that the Government would stand firm on its policy of making further changes to existing ordinances as seen necessary because 'we can't bring governance to a standstill'. The three mainland legal experts, Shao Tianren, Xiao Weiyun and Wu Jianfan, left the territory last night after lecturing China's local advisers on the reasons behind the legal sub-group's findings. The 150 District Affairs Advisers attending the meeting at the Xinhua offices in Happy Valley were given no opportunity to speak. Many were surprised when vice-director of Xinhua, Qin Wenjun, announced at the end of two hours of lectures that the briefing session was over. 'I don't think it is a good arrangement that we are not allowed to say anything, even for a minute, when the experts spoke for two hours,' said Leung Kwong-cheung from the Association for Democracy and People's Livelihood. Mr Leung added that he, as an ordinary person, could not understand the legal experts' rationale that it was wrong to introduce the law to implement the two international covenants. Chan Chee-sing, a Shamshuipo District Board member, said the six amended ordinances should not be reinstated as the PWC sub-group proposed. The Societies (Amendment) Ordinance allowing local groups to forge contacts with foreign counterparts was worth retaining because Hong Kong was an international city.