Chinese President Jiang Zemin played down the significance of an independent judiciary and a free press as factors behind Hong Kong's economic prosperity. In a wide-ranging interview with the French newspaper Le Figaro, he said he disagreed with the suggestion that the territory's success could be attributed to an independent judiciary and an unfettered press. He attributed the prosperity mainly to the creativity of Hong Kong people and to the support from other parts of the mainland, as well as to its open policy. 'After the return of Hong Kong to the motherland, the people of Hong Kong will surely create a more prosperous Hong Kong once they become their own masters,' he said. Mr Jiang reiterated that the Special Administrative Region would have an independent judiciary and the power of final appeal. He said rights and freedoms, including freedom of the press, would be ensured fully by the Basic Law. But he added: 'There is no press in the world that is not subject to laws and there is no absolute freedom to operate outside the law.' Mr Jiang made clear the 'through-train' - an arrangement for Legislative Council members to keep their seats after the handover - 'was impossible'. The setting up of a provisional legislature, he stressed, would not harm stability and prosperity. 'It will help the stable transition and the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region's governmental operations. There will be a full guarantee for maintaining the long-term prosperity and stability of Hong Kong after 1997,' he said.