France and Germany are expected to block a proposed joint European Union-United States resolution at the United Nations attacking China's human rights record. The UN Human Rights Commission began a six-week hearing in Geneva on Monday but it has become clear France and Germany are against a resolution calling China to account. Such resolutions have been agreed over the past four years but now the two countries are arguing China needs time to reform, and no wording has been agreed. Critics are suspicious that, with President Jacques Chirac about to visit China soon, trade concerns are at the heart of French thinking. Intense lobbying over the issue is continuing within the EU. Britain's Foreign Office said a resolution depended on 'substantive progress' on human rights issues while the hearing continued. It is understood such progress could include putting into practice laws passed in January on presumption of innocence until proven guilty in trials and earlier access to legal representation. One EU source said: 'Having gone through the motions we want to see them put into practice.' Britain is anxious not to be seen as hawkish in the run up to the Hong Kong handover although it believes in international pressure. The US would like to see China sign the two UN human rights conventions, an issue raised by Secretary of State Madeleine Albright in recent talks with President Jiang Zemin . It also wants to see Red Cross inspection of jails and labour camps and the release of more dissidents. Acceding to the UN covenants would have a direct effect on Hong Kong, which is covered by them. China has, so far, made it clear it will refuse to honour their provisions.