GOVERNOR Chris Patten yesterday fired another salvo against China, criticising Lu Ping, the top Chinese official in charge of Hong Kong affairs, for threatening to hurt Hong Kong people's livelihood. Mr Patten said the Hong Kong Government would certainly not say the sort of things that Mr Lu had said: that Sino-British co-operationon economic matters would be undermined if Mr Patten tabled his electoral package to the legislature. Mr Lu, the director of the Chinese State Council's Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office, made the comments to a visiting delegation of the Liberal Party members. ''It's not the sort of threat that I would ever make myself about people's livelihood,'' Mr Patten said. ''I don't honestly think that if one is trying to win the hearts and minds of the people in Hong Kong, it would make very much sense to say unless you agree with everything we want on political issues, we are going to hurt your livelihood . . . ' 'It would certainly never be said by the Hong Kong Government.'' He said effort should be put into finding a fair, open and acceptable election in Hong Kong rather than exchanging criticism. On the Chinese proposals to de-couple the 1994/95 poll arrangements, the Governor said he would like to see the non-controversial matters be put to one side by the Chinese authorities - but this was not being suggested. ''If he [Lu] says after all that, they are prepared to agree with Hong Kong and the British Government about the voting age, about the election method for district boards or municipal councils, as well as geographical seats for the Legislative Council, I'd be delighted to hear it . . . but director Lu Ping isn't saying that. ''What he is saying is maybe we have another 120 hours talking about the district board, the municipal councils. ''We haven't got another 120 hours . . . time is now extremely short,'' he said. ''We are actually cutting things extremely fine. ''We have to have in place by next July the legislation for the Legislative Council elections,'' he said. He said he would review the progress of the talks in his November meeting with the British Prime Minister, John Major, the Foreign Secretary, Douglas Hurd, and cabinet members. A vice-director of Xinhua (the New China News Agency), Zheng Guoxiong, said that it was the British side who did not want an agreement. Hitting back at Mr Patten's strong remarks that ''agreement [on constitutional reform] is a big deal'', Mr Zheng said Mr Patten had not fully understood the Chinese chief negotiator Jiang Enzhu's words. ''Mr Jiang only came to such a conclusion after 12 rounds of talks. ''The premise of his saying was China would like to have an agreement and has taken a very serious attitude towards the negotiation,'' said Mr Zheng. Mr Patten even went further to say that the British had actually laid down a deadline by pointing out that there were only weeks left for the talks to pressurise China. ''Does it imply that that the British side is prepared to abandon an agreement?'' he asked.