THE influential House of Commons Foreign Affairs Committee will this week publish its long-awaited report, expected to set the agenda for Britain's relations with Beijing in the final years before 1997. A new deal on nationality rights for Hong Kong's ethnic minorities, strong criticism of China's human rights violations, and full backing for Governor Chris Patten's political reforms are among its findings. The report - which Mr Patten has already predicted will mark an ''important milestone'' on the road to 1997 - is the outcome of a nine-month high-profile probe into relations with China and their effect on Hong Kong. It is being kept under tight wraps ahead of publication on Wednesday, with members warned any premature disclosure would amount to contempt of Parliament. But a close committee source has revealed it will urge the British Government to act to protect the position of the 7,000 members of non-Chinese ethnic minorities living in the territory, who run the risk of becoming stateless after 1997, by giving them either British passports or other nationality rights. The report will also issue a tough warning about the concerns Hong Kong people and the British Government feel over Beijing's poor human rights record. However a source stressed this was not meant to be seen as ''anti-Chinese''. The main focus will be to support Mr Patten's handling of the constitutional reform issue, and reject criticisms by former foreign affairs adviser Sir Percy Cradock in his evidence to the committee. Some committee members had earlier expressed doubts about the Governor's failure to visit Beijing before announcing his October 1992 political reform proposals. But the committee has now united behind Mr Patten and the report, written by chairman David Howell, a former Conservative minister, will be unanimous. It also contains a call for the Government to grant British nationality rights to Hong Kong's 25 war widows - a request that has now been overtaken by events with Whitehall already agreeing to grant them right of entry to Britain. Mr Patten said on his return to Hong Kong last night the campaign for right of abode for the ethnic minorities - which will be boosted by this week's report - had continued during his visit to London, where he raised the issue with British officials. The document seems certain to receive a much warmer reception in Hong Kong than the last, which appeared shortly after the June 1989 Tiananmen crackdown and was widely criticised locally for rejecting the right of abode in Britain for Hong Kong people. The committee's current inquiry into Hong Kong has also been controversial, dominated by a war of words between Mr Patten and Sir Percy over the Governor's policies. The Chinese Ambassador to London, Ma Yuzhen, also tried - and failed - to influence the report, with a letter warning that Beijing was serious about dismantling the three-tier political structure in 1997. Meanwhile Mr Patten revealed last night that he had held a private meeting with former prime minister Lady Thatcher, during his nine-day visit to London. ''I had an interesting meeting with Lady Thatcher, with whom I've been in regular contact over the last couple of years,' he said. not least because she was one of the signatories of the Joint Declaration and takes a close continuing interest in the successful implementation of the Joint Declaration,'' he said.