THE Government should clarify a grey area in the Basic Law on whether China will have the power to revoke Hong Kong people's permanent residence status after 1997, according to the United Democrats of Hong Kong (UDHK). Members said there were inconsistencies in the Basic Law on the power to grant permanent resident status after the change of sovereignty. Party vice-chairman Yeung Sum said China's expulsion of dissident labour unionist Han Dongfang had sparked fears that Hong Kong residents would be treated the same after 1997. Mr Yeung pointed out that Annex Three of the Basic Law stipulated that China's Nationality Law could be applicable to the Special Administrative Region (SAR), which implied that China was empowered to revoke Hong Kong people's nationality status. Yet Article 14 of the mini-constitution confined the central Government's role to the territory's defence and diplomatic affairs only. ''Mr Han's case has caused worry over this part of the Basic Law, which had gone unnoticed during the consultation period,'' Mr Yeung said. The UDHK was concerned that the Chinese Government would make use of the grey areas to revoke the passports of Hong Kong people and their right of abode. The party believed that the SAR administration should be the body to grant permanent resident status. It is seeking to meet the Acting Governor, Sir David Ford, to ask for clarification by the Chinese authorities in the Joint Liaison Group. Calling the expulsion of Mr Han a ''dangerous and wrong'' move, another vice-chairman, Albert Ho Chun-yan, said: ''It proves to the world that it [China] is still a government which has no respect for the rule of law and human rights.'' But the party's suggestion was questioned by a Chinese law expert Chang Hsin. Mr Chang, an honorary senior research fellow at the Chinese University, said an amendment in the Basic Law after 1997 would be needed in order to rest the power to grant permanent resident status solely with the SAR government. But he doubted whether an amendment would prevent a repeat of Mr Han's case in Hong Kong. ''It is not a matter of inadequate legal protection. The situation is that the Government is going its own way without following the law,'' he said. According to Mr Chang, the Government could cancel someone's passport only if it was being used illegally. Mr Chang described the Chinese Government's expulsion of Mr Han as ''erroneous''. In his first attempt to enter the mainland, Mr Han got to Huizhou before he was arrested and forced to leave by officers of the Public Security Bureau. Mr Chang said Chinese law only allows the expulsion of foreign citizens. Mr Han, as a Chinese citizen, should not be forced to leave.