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    Chinese leader Hua Guofeng is to make a tour of Western Europe in what Mr.?

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    Chinese leader Hua Guofeng is to make a tour of Western Europe in what Mr. Hua says is an effort to promote understanding, deepen friendships, expand co-operation and defend peace. He will visit France, West Germany, Britain and Italy, beginning on October 15.

    SYNOPSIS: Chairman Hua announced his plans to tour Western Europe at a news conference in the Great Hall of the People. And he explained to newsmen why he was going. He said he believes that the European countries he would visit are very important in world affairs, and a strong and united Europe is of great significance for the preservation of peace and security. Some observers saw his remarks in the light of the tensions which exist between China and the Soviet Union.

    Asked about China's talks with the Soviet Union just beginning in Moscow, he said it was too soon to tell what the outcome would be. Reuters News Agency in Peking says China's leaders are interested in NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organisation) because it helps divert the Soviet Union's military attention away from China.

    Mr. Hua told the newsmen that no-one is above the law, and announced that the 'Gang of Four' a group of leaders arrested three years ago, may soon get the chance to defend themselves in court. The four were accused by the Communist Party Central Committee recently of bringing 'calamity to the people' when they promoted the cultural revolution. Mr. Hua said the group would be tried for crimes against the Chinese people, but they would not face the death penalty.

    The newsmen understood that the four, led by Mao Tse Tung' widow Jiang Qing, would go on trial early next year (1980). Chairman Hua also gave an assurance that new laws would be introduced to protect Western companies investing in China.

    Companies with investments in Hong Kong, he said, also have nothing to fear. Mr. Hua said relations with the British authorities there are good, and question relating to Hong Kong, Kowloon and the New Territories could be resolved through consultation. Regardless of how the questions are decided, he said, China would take notice if investors' interests in Hong Kong. Investment and economic co-operation were expected to be among the topics Mr. Hua will discuss during his tour in Western Europe.

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    Reuters - Including Visnews
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