BRITAIN went on the offensive yesterday in the dispute over whether or not details of 17 rounds of secret talks with China on the 1994/95 electoral arrangements should be published next week, claiming that the Beijing Government had already leaked its ownversion of the negotiations. The mainland edition of the People's Daily on January 7 contained very long accounts from an anonymous official about the talks, the Governor's spokesman, Mike Hanson, said. He said it was, therefore, ''very surprising'' that China should issue a statement saying it was dissatisfied that the British administration had rejected ''consultation'' on releasing the contents of diplomatic negotiations. A mainland official said on Thursday that the British side had not sought a discussion with the Chinese side on the disclosure of these details and such a unilateral move was inappropriate. But Mr Hanson said that in early December, both the Director of the Chinese State Council's Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office, Lu Ping, and local Xinhua director, Zhou Nan, had challenged Mr Patten to reveal what had happened in the talks. He would not say whether the Government would go ahead and publish a White Paper outlining the negotiations and only reiterated that the Governor had made clear on several occasions that Hong Kong people would be given a full account. It is understood, however, that the Executive Council will be asked to formally endorse the final draft of the White Paper on Tuesday and that it will be published on either Thursday or Friday. As well as this dispute, Mr Patten plans to ignore China's objections and any concessions that might have been offered in the talks, and table his original constitutional package to legislators. Among proposals in his Policy Speech in 1992 were the creation of nine new Legislative Council functional constituencies, with a total franchise of 2.7 million people and formation of an Election Committee by district board members to return 10 legislators. The bill covering the functional constituency and election committee polls of the Legislative Council will also be gazetted on Friday. China has threatened to call fresh elections for the three-tier political structure in 1997 if Mr Patten goes ahead with his original constitutional package, which it claims violates the Joint Declaration, the Basic Law and previous understandings between Britain and China. Although consideration has been given to whether the Governor should table modified proposals put to the Chinese side last summer, Mr Patten is understood to have concluded that even such a move would not help win Beijing's support. Instead, Beijing would risk defeat as liberal legislators are certain to reject a watered-down version. According to the People's Daily article, the two sides had come close to an agreement, with a draft memorandum of understanding already available on the simple issues relating to the district boards and municipal councils polls. The full-page article, in the form of an interview between a reporter of the paper and a relevant person, detailed the cause leading to the collapse of the talks. It also revealed that the two sides already reached consensus on how to proceed with the voting age and voting method of the district boards and municipal councils elections as well as the abolition of appointed seats in the two lower tiers of political structure in the 15th round. The relevant person talked extensively on the crux of the problems leading to the failure of the talks and he was quoted as saying that at one point, China had compromised on the issue of the appointment system by agreeing to reduce the number of appointed seats of the district boards and the municipal councils from one-third to a quarter on the principle of proceeding in an orderly fashion. But the British side was unwilling to yield an inch, he added. He continued to say that to help win an accord with Britain on the district boards and municipal councils elections as quickly as possible, the Chinese side had stepped up its efforts at the 15th round of talks, offering to attach an explanation to the memorandum of understanding spelling out the positions of the two sides on the appointment system. The explanation would say that the British side supported the abolition of the appointment system while the Chinese side preferred keeping an appropriate proportion of the appointed seats. And after June 30, 1997, the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (SAR) government would decide on the number of district boards and appointed seats on its own, based on the stipulation of the Basic Law Article 98, he said, adding that the British side had agreed to the Chinese side's view on this issue. The two sides also agreed at that time that the non-government nature and functions of the district and municipal bodies would remain unchanged in the run-up to 1997. After ''some procrastination'', the relevant person said the British side also agreed to the Chinese side's proposal to lift restrictions on Hong Kong delegates to the National People's Congress at various levels to participate in the three-tier elections. At that stage, he said the two sides seemed to have reached an unanimous views, he said. But then the British side started to open new subjects and set out new demands at the 16th round of talks in demanding that the single-seat, single-vote election method for the Legco polls be applied to the Legco elections as well. He said the British side claimed that including this provision in the memorandum of understanding was based on the need for a ''balanced'' accord, for practical and political reasons. The need for balance, as suggested by the British side, was to balance against Britain's agreement to lift the restrictions on delegates to the National People's Congress to participate in the three-tier elections. Responding to the point raised by the British side, the relevant person said that at the 17th round of the talks, the Chinese side had submitted a draft memorandum of understanding suggesting that the voting age, voting method and lifting restrictions ondelegates to the Congress would only be confined to the district and municipal bodies polls. But the proposal was immediately rejected by the British side, he said.