Need to foster greater tolerance

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 11 February, 1997, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 11 February, 1997, 12:00am

Governor Chris Patten has called on Europeans and Americans to refrain from demeaning themselves by accepting the political and social ideals of Asia and China as the criteria for trade relations.

The appeal, undoubtedly well-intentioned, was somewhat simplistic and naive.

Far from being 'demeaning', empathy or magnanimity towards Asia and China in particular usually generates immense financial rewards.

It is far more important in this age of enlightenment that we banish our prejudices against political philosophies and regimes, and channel our energies into improving the lifestyle of those less fortunate.

We must demonstrate to humanity that there is more to democracy than just freedoms, rights and equalities, but also comprehension, compassion and the brotherhood of men.

Let Europeans and Americans appreciate that the vast population of China is not merely representative of the most dedicated and disciplined workforce in the world, but a generous, thoughtful and hopeful example of a great and homogeneous civilisation.



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