BEIJING will adopt tough measures, including raising interest rates, to crack inflation and curb regional autonomy. Speaking in an interview with the German newspaper Handelsblatt, Executive Vice-Premier Mr Zhu Rongji acknowledged efforts by Hongkong Governor Mr Chris Patten to lobby Washington for China's Most Favoured Nation trading status, but said Mr Patten was doing it ''for his own interests''. While claiming that China's double-digit inflation was ''still acceptable to the Chinese people'', Mr Zhu admitted that ''signs of economic overheating have surfaced in certain regions and areas''. The retail price index, China's main inflation indicator, rose to 8.6 per cent nationwide in the first quarter, but rose to 15.7 per cent in the cities. On Friday, China announced the average inflation rate would reach eight per cent this year, instead of the six per cent forecast in March. Mr Zhu, who has overall charge of the economy, said the State Council was readying drastic measures to curb excessive investments and regional autonomy. ''A degree of overheating has occurred in the coastal regions, in the construction of development zones, in the real estate industry and in the issuance of shares and stocks,'' he said. ''In some regions, local governments have turned large tracts of land into new development zones when they are not even sure of enough foreign investors coming.'' As remedial measures, Mr Zhu said interest rates on deposits and loans would be raised ''quite soon'' to ''encourage saving and curb the growing momentum of investment''.