LOCAL people are less confident of China's ability to handle the territory's change of sovereignty following the visit by the Director of the State Council's Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office, Lu Ping. According to an Asian Commercial Research survey sponsored by the South China Morning Post, the number of people who felt less confident in China handling the transition was almost double those who felt moreer 45 per cent had no opinion on the matter. People cited Mr Lu's behaviour and the failure of Britain and China to talk to each other as the major reasons for their drop in confidence. The poll also revealed that Mr Lu's refusal to meet Governor Chris Patten tarnished his image among the people of Hong Kong. Just over 36 per cent of respondents said Mr Lu's actions had lessened their opinion on him, while only 6.5 per cent said the visit had improved their perception of Mr Lu. About half the respondents said the visit had not changed their opinion on him. In response to whether Mr Lu's highly publicised visit would undermine the Governor's authority in the territory, 53 per cent of respondents said it had no effect, while 27 per cent agreed that it had. Six per cent said the Governor had gained in authority as a result of the visit. The poll also suggested that the majority of people wanted to see Mr Lu and Mr Patten meet again. About 35 per cent said they were eager to tell Mr Lu to keep the freedoms enjoyed by Hong Kong people and not to infringe upon them. The survey was conducted between May 4 and 7 and a total of 400 Cantonese speaking people aged 18 to 64 years were interviewed by telephone. Meanwhile, in a forum, major political party leaders said they thought Mr Lu's visit to Hong Kong had not been satisfactory. The vice-chairman of the United Democrats, Albert Ho Chun-yan, said Mr Lu had been acting against the public's wishes rather than the other way round. He said Chinese officials' comments on the Land Fund, disbanding the legislature in 1997 and China's support for New Territories indigenous inhabitants not granting females inheritance rights all went against the wishes of Hong Kong people. The Liberal Party said it regretted the fact that Mr Lu was not able to meet the Governor during his visit. But vice-chairman of the pro-China Democratic Alliance for the Betterment of Hong Kong, Tam Yiu-chung, said Mr Lu had met people from a wide spectrum of society during his visit and confident. A total of 36 per cent said they felt less confident, while only 19 per cent said they were more confident. The oth this would certainly help him to understand better the wishes of Hong Kong people. Mr Lu yesterday met about 300 workers from pro-China unions at the Hong Kong Federation of Trade Unions headquarters. He told them Hong Kong should not be used as a political base to change the socialist system in China. After the meeting, federation chairman Cheng Yiu-tong quoted Mr Lu as saying some people in Hong Kong had distorted his remarks that Hong Kong should not become a political city. Mr Cheng said Mr Lu told the workers that what he meant was that the territory should not become a base to convert China from socialism. He also quoted Mr Lu as saying that the recent report by the Foreign Affairs Select Committee of the House of Commons had made him realise Britain had changed its policy towards China. ''Some people'' in Britain believed that it was an ''obsolete'' approach for Hong Kong to maintain its co-operative relationship with China. He was quoted as saying ''those people'' in Britain wanted to use Hong Kong as a base to confront China. Mr Cheng also said Mr Lu told the workers that the Basic Law had guaranteed political participation by Hong Kong people after 1997. Mr Lu leaves Hong Kong today.