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Hong Kong Government Minister Urges China to Set Reform Timetable

A Hong Kong government minister has called on China to release a full timetable for introducing full, direct elections in the territory.

Hong Kong's Standard newspaper quotes Bernard Chan, who was named to Chief Executive Tung Chee-hwa's parliament last week, as saying a firm timetable by China would end political uncertainty in the former British colony.

Pro-democracy lawmakers have demanded that Hong Kong residents be given the power to directly elect their next leader in 2007 and to choose all members of the legislature the following year in 2008. China has ruled out direct elections.

This week a senior Hong Kong government official rejected calls for a public referendum on the issue, calling the proposal not practical.