THE Hong Kong Brits who have already gone home plan to throw a huge party in southeast England to herald the handover. According to The Dallas Morning News, party-goers include expats who have 'returned to the tranquil English countryside - traditional retreat of the retired colonial type - to tend their flower gardens and their memories'. Former Hong Kong Jockey Club general manager Robert Locking is organising the bash for more than 2,000 'Hong Kong veterans'. 'It's not a celebration, it's not a wake,' said Locking. 'It's something in between. Our concern should not be for ourselves, or the ego of Britain, but for the six million people of Hong Kong who will have new leaders.' The handover will kick off at 5 pm (GMT) at Sandown Park racecourse in the leafy county of Surrey. Revellers will view the Wan Chai ceremony live on a huge video screen. While those attending the actual ceremony at the new convention centre will dine in fine Western style and drink champagne, the old colonials back home will enjoy more nostalgic fare: dim sum and San Miguel. Ah, happy memories. Karaoke afterwards? The Dallas Morning News didn't say. technical invasion THE Daily Telegraph and the British Government, are not in a celebrating mood. At this late stage, they both seem worried about a Chinese invasion. 'Speculation that China might stage a technical invasion of Hong Kong,' writes Graham Hutchins, 'by moving its forces across the border before midnight on June 30 to assume defence duties on July 1, is growing among British officials in the territory.' What! Britain has rejected the 'extraordinary' Beijing request that they move their troops in before midnight June 30, to bolster the 196-strong advance guard. But, says the Telegraph, 'China-controlled newspapers said that since the British garrison could not make its final withdrawal until two or three hours after the midnight ceremony, it would be wrong not to allow armed Chinese troops to be in position at the zero hour.' Over to you, London. One British official claims that this, of all matters concerning the transfer of sovereignty, was 'the big one'. If the PLA did come early, the official said it would be 'technically an invasion, though not much of one'. So what will happen if the PLA does try to liberate Hong Kong half an hour early? Will it mean war? Will the few dozen British soldiers fight back? Probably not, says the man from Whitehall. They would, said the spokesman, probably get on a boat and depart with as much dignity as possible. secret deal IF THE People's Liberation Army did invade they would be breaking a secret Sino-British deal made in 1945, claims the influential Japanese monthly magazine, Bungei Shunju. On September 27, just after the defeat of Japan, claims Chinese author Tang Lumie, the Communists signed a secret deal with the British not to invade Hong Kong. In return, the nine-point agreement gave the Communists official status in Hong Kong and the right to keep newspaper offices and communications bases in the territory. In June 1946, an operations committee was established and a year later, Xinhua (the New China News Agency) set up shop here. The deal was allegedly signed by Tang Tiandu (no relation), deputy head of Guangdong's political and economic committee, and senior British diplomat, D. M. McDougal. Tang writes that in October 1949, the PLA halted just 40 kilometres from the Hong Kong border, and in 1950, the British became one of the first governments to recognise the People's Republic of China. Tang Lumie claims that the deal later became government policy, under the premiership of Zhou Enlai, and that a copy of the deal still survives in the Guangdong party archives. The author interviewed the Chinese signatory of the deal (who is now 104) in a Guangdong hospital and says that the deal was always kept secret because it would have amounted to a 'face-losing sell-out'. opium bore CHINA is wallowing in humiliation, writes Rod Mickleburgh in the Toronto Globe and Mail. After '156 years in the clutches of the British, who took the island as part of their booty from the Opium War ... Everywhere, songs and slogans urge Chinese people to 'wash away their 100 years of shame'. ' Why all this stuff about shame? Surely the Hong Kong handover is a time for China to look forward, not back. Apparently not, says Mickleburgh. 'For most Chinese, it's not Hong Kong's riches that captivate them, but the symbolic end of one-and-a-half centuries of painful humiliation at the hands of the foreigners.' At the Opium Museum in Hunan, on the site where 158 years ago the Chinese commissioner Lin Zexu ordered the destruction of British Opium, such sentiments couldn't be higher. The museum is devoted to the Opium War and is full of pictures, statues and memorials to Lin Zexu. 'The British invaders burned, killed, looted and pillaged without restraint, exposing completely their colonial, reactionary character and their mercenary cruelty,' one caption reads. Another caption refers to the return of Hong Kong, quite simply as 'the revenge of Commissioner Lin.' Well it certainly catchier than plain old boring 'handover'.