FREED businessman Philip Cheng Hui-ho yesterday called on US President Bill Clinton to take China's widespread abuses of human rights into consideration when he decides whether to renew China's Most Favoured Nation (MFN) trading status this June. Dr Cheng who only returned to Hong Kong on Thursday after being kept in China for seven months said he supported Washington linking human rights with MFN. ''I think the US Government will take my case as a violation of human rights in considering whether to give China MFN status. ''The lack of human rights is just such a big problem in today's China,'' said Dr Cheng, a former head of the department of Journalism and Communications of the Chinese University of Hong Kong. Dr Cheng was detained by the Changsha Eastern District People's Court, in Hunan province last August over a dispute concerning his joint-venture business in China. He was held for two months in Changsha of Hunan Province and his passport was taken away. The Chinese partner in his joint venture, the Hunan Arts and Crafts Import and Export Corp (HACIEC), wanted to pull out from the company and demanded the return of their investment. While he agreed to return the money to the HACIEC, he was arrested by court officials of the Changsha People's Eastern District Court who also took away his passport. At least four Hong Kong residents are still under detention in China as a result of business disputes, according to figures revealed by the Secretary for Security Alistair Asprey. Pro-human rights activist John Kamm said yesterday that he believed many other Hong Kong residents faced even longer detention or worse treatment than Dr Cheng's had experienced. Hoping his case would raise public awareness of the mainland's legal system, Dr Cheng plans to file two counter charges - a criminal charge against two Changsha judges for alleged illegal detainment and confiscation of his passport since August 26. Another civil charge would be filed against HACIEC for the economic losses. ''Many people chicken out. They are so afraid of the mainland authorities that I have to speak up as an example myself. We need to examine why regional officials in China are able to abuse their powers to such an extent,'' he said.