WILL 1997 mark the death or the rejuvenation of Hong Kong? Is the territory losing out to regional competitiveness? These are among the hot issues that will be tackled by champions of industry who will line up to take part in the 1995 Hong Kong Business Summit, which kicks off tomorrow at the Island Shangri-La Hotel. The annual summit, backed by the Hong Kong General Chamber of Commerce and South China Morning Post, is no ordinary seminar. It offers direct access to the views of some of Hong Kong's most important business and civic leaders. The keynote address will be given by the Chief Justice, Sir Ti Liang Yang, who will talk on business and the rule of law. This will be Sir Ti Liang's first public speech since a controversy erupted last month over his alleged criticism of the Bill of Rights, when an official of Xinhua (the New China News Agency) claimed that the Chief Justice inferred the bill undermined Hong Kong's legal system. The summit will provide a balanced, first-hand view of current economic issues and offer insight into the thinking of those directly involved in determining the future direction of the private sector economy. Panellists and speakers will include Peter Sutch, chairman of John Swire & Sons; Walter Kwok Ping-sheung, chairman of Sun Hung Kai Properties; Paul Cheng Ming-fun, legislator and Inchcape Pacific chairman; and William Fung, Li & Fung (Trading) managing director and chairman of the Hong Kong General Chamber of Commerce. William Overholt, managing director of Bankers Trust, and Far Eastern Economic Review senior editor Frank Ching will lead the first debate on confidence over Hong Kong's transfer of sovereignty in 1997. Both men have published books on China. Mr Overholt has five books to his name, including the best-seller, China: The Next Economic Superpower. Mr Ching, a political commentator on ATV World's Newsline, also does not subscribe to the 'death-of-Hong Kong' school, adding that his views are more realistic than negative. The second session will focus on Hong Kong's economic competitiveness. There will be speeches by man-in-the-news Gordon Wu Ying-sheung, managing director of Hopewell Holdings, and Simon Murray, group chief executive of Deutsche Bank (Asia-Pacific). Mr Murray was group managing director of Hutchison Whampoa until moving to Singapore in 1993 to take up his Deutsche Bank posting. South China Morning Post editor-in-chief David Armstrong will act as moderator for both sessions. The Chamber's chief economist and assistant director, Ian Perkin, will join a panel addressing the territory's economic score card in 1995 and making their tips for 1996. Other participants in the event will include Paul Selway-Swift, executive director of Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corp; Victor Lo Chung-wing, chairman of Gold Peak Industries (Holdings); Rodney Miles, chairman of the Retail Management Association; James Tien, chairman of Manhattan Garments (International); Robert Savage, general manager of government and education industries for IBM Asia; Brian Stevenson, senior partner at Ernst & Young; Denis Lee, managing director of Kingscore Industrial; and Ray Bashford, business editor of South China Morning Post.