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Peking official says U.K. to lose role in Hong Kong

Mainland China will recover sovereignty over Hong Kong by 1997, but the British colony will be governed afterward by its own people with its economic system and life style unchanged, according to a senior Chinese official.

The state-run China News Service quoted Liao Chengzhi, a vice-chairman of the National People's Congress, as saying this over the weekend to Hong Kong businessmen visiting Peking.

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Mr. Liao's statement was the first time Peking has said it planned to regain sovereignty by 1997, the date Britain's 99-year lease runs out.