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Briton Jeered Again as He Dims Refugee Hopes

From Reuters

British Foreign Secretary Sir Geoffrey Howe was jeered again today as he slammed the door on hopes that Britain would offer refuge to all Hong Kong people if things go seriously wrong when the colony returns to Chinese rule in 1997.

After delivering his message at a luncheon speech for community leaders, the foreign secretary continued to be taunted by political activists during what diplomats described as the roughest ride ever given here to a British Cabinet minister.

Howe made it clear all Hong Kong’s predominantly Chinese population would not be given the right to live in Britain although the government was considering a plan permitting some people from both private and public sectors to live there.

He also lashed out at China, saying he and his Cabinet colleagues had been angered and appalled by the brutal suppression of the student-led democracy movement.

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Howe was greeted by jeering demonstrators when he arrived Sunday and at the end of his speech today one of the guests, political activist Lee Wing Tat shouted:

“This . . . speech is an insult to the intelligence of Hong Kong Chinese. We are very angry about Hong Kong. You say you cannot give permission to 3.25 million people to settle in Britain. . . . You will be handing them over to a bloody and suppressive government.”

Howe had earlier said, “I know the depths of your anxiety--it is your lives and livelihoods that are at stake. . . . The plain fact is that there is simply no way that a British government could grant to several million people the right to come and live in Britain.”


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