Discussion should begin on the expansion of democracy in the SAR. Hong Kong must find a solution to allow the Legislative Council to contribute to good governance. Those were two expressions of opinion heard here from non-Hong Kong people this week. The speech in which the first comment was made provoked a critical reaction from the Office of the Foreign Ministry Commissioner objecting to inappropriate interference in China's internal affairs. No such reaction was produced by the second speech which opined that Hong Kong needed to adapt its system of government. The first speech was by the new US Consul-General, Michael Klosson. The second was by Singapore's Senior Minister, Lee Kuan Yew. Every country is sensitive to the opinions of foreigners, however well meaning. Americans might react badly if China's ambassador in Washington started talking about the US political system and whether a press council was needed. But the reaction to Mr Klosson's remarks should be seen in the broader context of Sino-US relations. Despite encouraging words yesterday from the US emissary to Beijing, these relations are not in good shape. President Bill Clinton's 'strategic partnership' period last year has been blown away by the bombing of China's Embassy in Belgrade, the failure to agree on Beijing's membership of the World Trade Organisation, tension across the Taiwan Strait and spying allegations against China in the US. Compared to such issues of geo-politics, what a diplomat tells the American Chamber of Commerce about democratisation, the media or the Pope's non-visit may seem of lesser consequence. But, while Mr Lee is free to express his opinions both because of the respect the SAR leaders have for him and because Singapore is not Washington, the reaction to Mr Klosson's remarks shows China's sensitivity to any suggestion that the US is trying to influence events in Hong Kong. It is unlikely that American representatives will stop expressing opinions about the SAR. The rule of law and Cheung Man-yee's move from RTHK to Tokyo came up in a Senate hearing this week. Given the attention paid at the handover, the SAR cannot expect to be immune from international interest. That interest brings comment with it. But it seems that wider international relations are the determining factor when such comment is regarded as interference.