In remarks uncharacteristic of China's strategy on Hong Kong's handover, Vice-Premier Qian Qiche told provisional legislature president Rita Fan Hsu Lai-tai to be 'bold and creative'. Given that the interim body was itself unprecedented and needed to start all over again in some matters, Mr Qian admitted on Friday that it might encounter difficulties. His advice to the legislature was that it should deal with the work in a creative manner and be bold. The high-profile advice to the legislature president was given on the eve of the provisional body's full meeting in Shenzhen yesterday. After much haggling over internal work rules, it passed the first two readings of a straightforward bill on public holidays and a set of work regulations, including the legislative procedure. Yesterday's meeting marked the first concrete, and controversial, step in the operation of the body before the handover. If the timing of Mr Qian's red-carpet reception for Mrs Fan is important, it is because Beijing has envisaged the urgency needed to give a political steer and morale-booster to a body bogged down by internal bickering and external challenges. In the midst of fierce opposition and threats of legal action from activists, moderates opted for a conciliatory and minimalist approach in its legislative process before July 1. They would also like to see the least change possible to the rules and structure of the present Legislative Council in the takeover legislature. The catchphrases 'prudence' and 'the-fewer-changes-the-better' which were most often cited until recently by senior Chinese leaders as guiding principles in handling the transition are no longer palatable as the handover comes ever closer. To Beijing, time is running out for dilly-dallying on procedural and formal matters. It is time for action and decision because there is work to do in the next 80 days. Beijing's view was encapsulated in Mrs Fan's response to plans by democrats to go to court. 'As they please,' she said. The fact is that Beijing and the interim body do not have the time to bother about such matters. Chief Executive-designate Tung Chee-hwa has already listed 12 bills that need to be passed by the provisional legislature before July 1 - but the task is proving far more complicated and arduous than anticipated. The controversy that flared over the just-published consultative document on the Societies and Public Order Ordinances foreshadows the complexities that may emerge when the bills are tabled to the provisional legislature for approval. And, according to one of Mr Tung's cabinet members, Leung Chun-ying, the body will be asked to scrutinise one more bill on ways to help to stop a fresh wave of mainland children entering the territory illegally . As the consultative document on the civil rights ordinances showed, the lack of time for detailed research leads to ambiguities and problems. Mr Tung and his top advisers, as well as the provisional legislature, will have to work against time to put in place in the next 80 days a set of all-important laws such as the two ordinances, and measures on the position of mainland children and right of abode. The message behind Mr Qian's advice is clear: There is no room for lengthy discussion and a thorough legislative process in such a unique situation. The laws must be in place on July 1 even though there may still be much room for improvement and need for clarification in the long-run. Judging from the deliberations at the Shenzhen meeting yesterday, Mr Qian's message was well received. While it is a foregone conclusion that the bills to be tabled to the provisional legislature will go through smoothly, there are real fears about the hasty formulation of those important ordinances. Laws full of loopholes and ambiguities - and a legislative process vulnerable to challenge - would become a source of more friction and legal dispute. As far as law-making is concerned, the Chinese rhetoric about prudence makes good sense at this time.