CHINA will return to the negotiation table if Governor Chris Patten withdrawns his political proposals, a senior Chinese official said in Hong Kong yesterday. A vice-director of the local Xinhua (New China News Agency), Zhu Yucheng, said: ''Only if Mr Patten completely withdraws his political proposal would there be possibility for talks.'' Mr Zhu made the remark when he was asked whether there was still a possibility to reopen the talks. Legislators will today begin scrutinising the electoral bill, which covers the lowering of the voting age to 18, abolition of appointed members in the municipal councils and district boards, and a single-seat, single-vote system for all three tiers of government. ''Mr Patten's proposal can never be withdrawn, although Britain can make concessions in other areas,'' said a source close to the Government. Despite Monday's statement from the State Council's Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office that the three-tier structure should be disbanded at the changeover, the source said they were still waiting for an official reply from China on terminating the talks.