Paper could make 'good bedtime reading'

SOME of the people queueing for a copy of the White Paper yesterday believed the account of the talks would make good bedtime reading.

Others, with Hong Kong's eye for pragmatism, hoped the paper might one day become a collectors' item.

Dozens of people queued outside the distribution booths at the Government Publications Sales Centre and Government Information Services headquarters in Central as the copies of the document were distributed from 5 pm.

Each person was allowed only one copy.

Shanghai-born Chan Koon-hung, 79, who fled from the mainland after the communist takeover, said: ''I have no confidence in the communists. I want to know what rubbish they have got up to during the talks.

''The game is over now. And getting an account of what the talks have been about seems useless. But anyway, I think it makes a good bedtime reading,'' he said.

A third-year student at City Polytechnic, Adam Chan, 23, smartly dressed for a job interview, did not know until he got a copy exactly what the paper was about.

But he said he would still read up on it.

''I am preparing for job interviews. And the Sino-British relationship must be a hot topic. I cannot show that I am too ignorant about it,'' Mr Chan said.

Mr Tang, 60, from Central, said: ''Politics is rubbish. But I'll keep the paper on my bookshelf; perhaps, one day it will become a collector's item.'' Pharmacist Benjamin Kwong, 33, added: ''Man is a curious animal and is always nosy about secrets.

''I do not think the Hong Kong Government will tell us 100 per cent of the truth in the White Paper.

''But to know a little bit is better than knowing nothing at all.'' A total of 100,000 copies - 70,000 in Chinese and 30,000 in English - have been printed.

They will be available from the Government Publications Sales Centre, district offices, post offices, and housing estate offices from today.