PRO-China and conservative political leaders in Hongkong blasted Mr Patten's decision, saying it would create difficulties for resuming talks. But liberal legislators and Executive Councillors supported the move and maintained that it should not be seen as confrontational. Mr Tsang Yok-sing, chairman of the pro-China Democratic Alliance for the Betterment of Hongkong, yesterday said the gazetting of the bill had created tremendous difficulties for the resumption of bilateral talks. ''It will be a miscalculation of Mr Patten if he believed the gazettal of the bill would pressurise Beijing to make concessions. In fact, the move will only further toughen China's stance,'' he said. Pro-China legislator Mr Tam Yiu-chung said Mr Patten's move was unwise as there was no sign of difficulties in the recent Sino-British diplomatic exchanges. Describing such a move as ''impulsive'' and ''impatient'', Mr Tam asked: ''What does this gesture do to the resumption of talks?'' ''Mr Patten was not doing it for the benefit of Hongkong people but simply to save his face,'' said Mr Tam. Convenor of the Co-operative Resources Centre Mr Allen Lee Peng-fei also wondered what Mr Patten could achieve by gazetting the bills when the prospect of talks had been so close. However, he expressed disappointment that the Chinese side had insisted on barring Hongkong government officials from taking part in the talks. Hongkong Affairs Adviser and a former judge of the Court of Appeal Mr Simon Li Fook-sean said the move showed total disregard for local interests and a smooth transition. Mr Li also accused Mr Patten of playing political games, and using the Legislative Council as his tool. But the chairman of the United Democrats of Hongkong, Mr Martin Lee Chu-ming, said his group supported Mr Patten's move although it regretted that the Governor had failed to give a definite time limit for submitting the bill to the Legislative Council. He hoped that the Government would table the bill to the law-making assembly for the first and second reading within two weeks. Asked if the gazetting of the bill would anger China, the liberal leader said he believed the Chinese side would not do anything to undermine Hongkong's economy in retaliation. Meeting Point legislator Dr Leong Che-hung said the gazetting of the bills was a move in the right direction. His colleague Mr Fred Li Wah-ming said they were worried that the Government might back down and withdraw the package in the middle of the legislature's scrutiny. Representative of the banking industry in the legislature, Mr David Li Kwok-po, said the Government had finally made clear its next move to the public. ''The business sector wants to know what is happening. We don't want to be kept in the dark,'' he said. Despite fluctuations in the stock market, Mr Li said the move would not undermine Hongkong's economy, given its strength. Executive Councillor Mr Denis Chang Khen-lee said it was important not to see the gazetting as an act of confrontation which was meant to make public an Executive Council decision. Asked if the gazetting would further diminish hopes for talks, he agreed that it was something which China might interpret as insincere. ''But we don't think it should be seen in this way, particularly after all the efforts to defer gazetting the bill,'' he said. His colleague, Professor Felice Lieh-mak, said the bill was gazetted because the Government could not get a satisfactory response from China on the membership of the British team. The professor said the bill could still be amended even after it was endorsed by the Legislative Council. She said, with the gazetting of the bill, the role of the Legislative Council had now become more important. She hoped the legislators could shoulder the responsibility.