Governor Chris Patten yesterday angrily denied the Government was backing down on its stance towards the provisional legislature. The denial followed remarks by Chief Secretary Anson Chan Fang On-sang in Los Angeles in which she appeared to accept the body would be set up. Asked whether there had been a change in the official stance, Mr Patten said: 'No. No. . . a negative no rather than a no with a question mark or a positive no or an affirmative no.' He said the setting up of the provisional legislature and planned dismantling of Legco would be 'reprehensible and unjustifiable'. He added: 'Now I can't make it much plainer than that.' Mrs Chan had said: 'Of course, we hope the present Legco can work beyond 1997 . . . The Chinese, of course, have said they will establish a provisional legislature. We hope we can change them. But if they insist, it should include people from a wide section of Hong Kong society.' A government official admitted Mrs Chan's remarks on the composition of the provisional legislature were different to those officials had made before. 'People will keep asking about the provisional legislature,' the official said yesterday. 'We can't bury our heads in the sand. Hong Kong people would also wish to see wide representation.' Mr Patten said the Government would offer no help to China over the provisional legislature. 'We will do absolutely nothing whatsoever to compromise the authority of the Legislative Council or to assist in its dismantling, and there can be no other Legislative Council as far as we are concerned,' he said. On freedom of the press, he said he was puzzled by reported remarks made by senior Chinese official Lu Ping that distinctions between advocacy and reporting would be defined by law. 'Today, newspapers report and they sometimes advocate. We make no distinction between advocacy and reporting. How can you?' Under the Basic Law Article 23, he said it was for the Special Administrative Region to enact its own laws to ban activities such as subversion and sedition. 'So I don't quite understand what is the basis for some Chinese officials saying what those laws will do or be. It's entirely a matter for the SAR government,' he said. 'I very much hope that we won't have any more confusion about this issue. There is freedom of speech today and it is promised tomorrow.'