CHINA has delivered its strongest warning to Britain over plans to increase democracy in Hongkong, with Beijing's top representative, Mr Zhou Nan, setting in motion what is expected to be an even tougher campaign against the Governor's proposals. Draft bills giving effect to Mr Chris Patten's proposals, which are bitterly resented by China, are expected to be introduced to the Legislative Council on February 17. In an interview in today's edition of the pro-Beijing magazine The Mirror, Mr Zhou speaks at length about China's position and interpretation of the Sino-British row over Mr Patten's controversial political blueprint. Mr Zhou extensively quotes remarks by paramount leader Mr Deng Xiaoping on Beijing's intransigent position on the question of sovereignty over Hongkong. He makes it clear that China will not offer any concessions despite suggestions that both sides should give a little. Mr Zhou also renews Beijing's personal attack on Mr Patten, which over the past few months has been at times vehement. He says that he did not come to his position at the New China News Agency in Hongkong for elections nor was he a publicity seeker. He says his duty is to unite compatriot Hongkong residents and expatriates willing to co-operate with China to faithfully and fully implement the Joint Declaration and ensure a smooth transition. The interview with the director of the local branch of the New China News Agency addresses a range of issues, including the alleged British plot to retain residual influence in Hongkong after 1997 and the alleged attempt to internationalise the Hongkong issue. Mr Zhou rejects that these attempts will be successful. He also warns against any attempt by Britain to test China's determination in recovering the territory's sovereignty. Citing a scene in the early days of the 1983-1984 negotiations over Hongkong's future, Mr Zhou says his British counterparts had admitted that London's intention in putting proposals which clearly infringed upon China's sovereignty was to sound out Beijing's degree of acceptability on such an issue. ''If the so-called proposals they put forward this time are also meant to sound out China's determination on matter of principle, then it is time now for them to wake up,'' Mr Zhou warns. ''As to how [the British side] can find a ladder to climb down, I don't think they are stupid. When there is a will to change their course, they would obviously find a solution.'' He also hints that China's latest position in handling the Sino-British dispute had the personal stamp of Mr Deng, and stresses that the patriarch had all along been paying close attention to Hongkong's developments and was well aware of the territory's situation. Mr Zhou says the deterioration in Sino-British relations following the announcement of Mr Patten's political blueprint was unexpected. ''It is ridiculous and unrealistic to suggest that Hongkong's pace of democratisation is not fast enough,'' Mr Zhou says. Former Downing Street foreign policy adviser Sir Percy Cradock has already openly criticised the Patten plan, while former governors Lord MacLehose and Lord Wilson have also commented on the subject. Quoting Mr Deng's past remarks on Hongkong, Mr Zhou says the paramount leader had made it clear to former British prime minister Lady Thatcher that the question of sovereignty was not negotiable. ''If [China] did not recover Hongkong's sovereignty in 1997, Chinese people would not allow it and any Chinese Government [which allowed that to happen] would also fall from power . . . we would also be condemned by history and the nation,'' Mr Zhou quotes Mr Deng as saying. Mr Zhou also quotes Mr Deng as repeating many times that on the question of sovereignty, China would not give up even an inch, adding: ''We are not the Manchurian Government. There were suggestions that each side should offer some concessions. This is simply out of the question. The Joint Declaration, the Basic Law and the understandings reached between the two sides should be strictly observed and implemented. Not a single word can be changed.'' Mr Zhou says Mr Deng had told some Hongkong people a few years ago that ''we have already made more than enough concessions on the Basic Law, the more you concede, the more complicated the matter would be and it would also lead to turmoil''. ''Like Hongkong residents, we don't want to see Hongkong people living in a state of Sino-British confrontation in the next four years . . . the problem, however, is that somebody has chosen the route of confrontation and we have no choice but to respondwith determination,'' Mr Zhou says. Looking to the future, the New China News Agency head says it all depends on the British side's attitude, warning that if Britain insisted on the current path, it would not only damage Hongkong people's interest but also that of Britain. Mr Zhou says the latest developments in Hongkong should not be taken as an isolated case. While suggesting that Mr Patten was a factor in Britain's latest move, he says the present situation also reflects a change in Britain's policy towards Hongkong. Noting wide-spread rumours that Britain believed that China, in the light of the collapse of the Soviet Union, would follow such changes and therefore Britain should prepare for overturning the Joint Declaration if necessary, Mr Zhou says the possibilitythat someone was playing the international card should not be dismissed.