Thatcher holds up territory as model

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 28 June, 1995, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 28 June, 1995, 12:00am

LADY Thatcher took advantage of a prestigious forum in America yesterday to make a scathing contrast between Hong Kong's rule of law and prosperity and misery of China under communism.

Speaking to the National Press Club in Washington, the former British prime minister held up the territory as an example of how a small state with no natural resources can succeed if entrepreneurial people are left to their own devices.

'As you know, it's been under British rule for a long time - sound administration, the rule of law, capitalism and free enterprise economics with partial democracy, as much as we could get.

'Hong Kong, from nothing, with no resources but under that free enterprise, free society, has built herself up to be one of the richest countries in the world.

'The average [annual] income there is US$22,000 (HK$170,038) per head. Starting with nothing, with the right political system founded on liberty and capitalism.' Her voice rising, Lady Thatcher went on: 'China, with 1.2 billion people, on central planning and communist control, with no liberty, poverty-stricken, with no dignity and no standard of living, until Deng is now releasing it up and making a modest measure towards capitalism.' Lady Thatcher did not discuss 1997 issues or her own role in the crucial negotiations that led to the 1984 Joint Declaration. She is on a book promotional tour.