Editorials attack speech

PUBLISHED : Friday, 04 October, 1996, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 04 October, 1996, 12:00am

Newspaper editorials joined the pro-Beijing press in attacking Mr Patten's speech as sowing the seeds of suspicion in the community.

One of the most ferocious criticisms came from the top-selling Oriental Daily News. It said the 16 benchmarks spelled out by Mr Patten to help the world to judge post-handover Hong Kong were 'extremely prejudicial and based on subjective speculation'.

The criticism was echoed by the pro-Beijing Ta Kung Pao, which said it was unnecessary for Mr Patten to advise the first chief executive.

The Governor was 'trying to coerce the chief executive [designate] into distancing himself from the Chinese central Government and to turn Hong Kong into an independent or semi-independent political entity'.

Another pro-China daily, Wen Wei Po, said Mr Patten was 'trying to stir up public opinion' in a move to 'create obstacles to a smooth transition'.

Ming Pao said while Britain had often emphasised its moral obligation towards Hong Kong, it had been miserly in giving any real benefit to the people of Hong Kong.

In London, The Daily Telegraph said: 'It is a worthy swan song and one of which Britain, as co-signatory of the Joint Declaration, should take particular note. We cannot just wash our hands of Hong Kong when the Union flag is finally lowered.' The Times said the list of benchmarks for the future 'will irritate powerful Chinese businessmen' confident of privileged channels to Beijing.

The Independent said Mr Patten had not always played his cards well, but the sniping of Chinese apologists like Sir Percy Cradock was undeserved.