• Thu
  • Jul 24, 2014
  • Updated: 10:53am
NewsHong Kong

Last governor Chris Patten speaks of 'regrets' over Hong Kong democracy

City's last governor says Britain should have gone further on democracy

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 12 November, 2013, 4:53am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 12 November, 2013, 12:55pm

Hong Kong's last colonial governor sparked fresh debate in the city yesterday when he revealed that the "biggest regret" of his tenure was that Britain didn't go further to implement parts of the Sino-British Joint Declaration, particularly on elections.

Chris Patten also told The Wall Street Journal that anyone who tried to block more political rights for Hongkongers was "spitting in the wind".

But his remarks were dismissed as "meaningless" by Tam Yiu-chung, chairman of the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong, who said many changes he implemented between 1992 and 1997 were rolled back after the handover.

Signed in 1984, the declaration guaranteed Hong Kong's social and economic systems for 50 years. It said the chief executive would be appointed by Beijing based on "elections or consultations" and that Hong Kong's legislature would be elected.

Patten's attempts to increase democracy by allowing more Hongkongers to vote for lawmakers in functional constituencies saw him dubbed a "sinner of the ages" by Beijing's Hong Kong affairs chief, Lu Ping.

Patten told the Journal London spent too much time negotiating on "areas that the Chinese leadership was never going to agree to, rather than simply taking action on those points".

He added: "The only thing [Hong Kong] doesn't have is the right to elect its own government, and sooner or later it will have … anybody who tries to resist that is, I think, spitting in the wind."

DAB lawmaker Ip Kwok-him was unimpressed.

"I also regret that Patten went against the [terms] of the joint declaration and … made those [electoral] changes," he said. "I don't think anyone, including the central government, is resisting democratic development."

Patten also said it would be a "concern" and bad for the city and country if Hong Kong's independence was eroded by mainland organisations.

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jd.salinger.3154
You don't process information very well. Try reading my comment again.
artdig18
Good leaders like Sir MM an extract below from Wiki
MacLehose became Governor of Hong Kong in November 1971, holding this position until May 1982.
A diplomat with a British Labour Party background,[3] MacLehose introduced a wide range of reforms during his time in office that laid the foundation of modern Hong Kong as a cohesive, self-aware society. He had Chinese recognised as an official language for communication, alongside English. He greatly expanded welfare and set up a massive public housing programme. He rooted out corruption, with the creation of the ICAC. By establishing the District Boards, he greatly improved government accountability.[4] He oversaw the construction of the Mass Transit Railway, Hong Kong's transportation backbone, and other major infrastructure projects. On his watch, community and arts facilities were expanded, and public campaigns, such as against litter and violent crime, were introduced.
These changes required increased funding from the UK Government Treasury, and it was against some opposition that, in his first two years in office, Hong Kong government expenditure grew by over 50%.[
artdig18
Caractacus before Sir Murray MacLehose came to HK ... corruption was rife ... both the mess and clean up were under the British administration ... Indonesia and Philippines are democracies and corruption is rife.
HK just needs good Leaders/Government
caractacus
The denial of representative government is the cause of HK's dysfunctional governance since 1997. It isn't because of Patten or because of "foreign interference". It is simply because HK is an autocracy answerable to an arbitrary dictatorship, whereas before 1997 it was an autocracy answerable to a democratically elected constitutional government. There's a world of difference in the PRACTICE of government.
This has led to corruption creeping in at the top levels of administration to unprecedented degrees.
As for DAB shoeshiner Ip Kwok-him: "I don't think anyone, including the central government, is resisting democratic development." the DAB have been instrumental in denying HK getting that very thing.
"Democratic development" to Beijing means something exactly the opposite, just as C. Y. Leung says his administration is transparent and accountable.
captam
Patten , more than any other single individual, is responsible for the mess that Hong Kong now finds itself in.................... an ungovernable city known world-wide for its street circuses ('demonstrations') every weekend.
He never understood two simple words uttered by Deng Xiaoping (邓小平) as a promise: "No Change" (for 50 years.) Patten spent his five years here attempting to do the very exact opposite and raising unachievable ( and really dumb) local expectations .
He even wasted billions by putting the new airport in the wrong place.
caractacus
****.
AND: The site of the new airport was decided long before he became Governor.
Camel
Now he is talking. Well, Mr. Patten. You say that anybody who tries to resist democracy is spitting in the wind. YOU had done this for over 150 years - the spitting - and put HK to a political state in what HK is now. Thank you very much as your "regrets" mean nothing to me.
Now you are talking. How about just shut up and stop trying to get sympathy from the HK people in return for your pretented "regrets".
realestate
HK is a world city because it was administered by the British.During its rule the locals enjoyed total freedom and lived quite happily and one did not notice anti-govt slogans or protests.
Today it is administered by its own people and look at the mess, good luck to the HKers!!
likingming
A man of "regrets" is a man of hypocrisies
chuchu59
I dont know whether Patten had ulterior motives but he did impress me during his stint here as someone who studied the Basic Law well. He was really a diplomat despite the title of the book he wrote and people like CY should learn a few things from him. Tam and Ip are free to say what they like but really they need to shake off their tags as being puppets who echo whatever Beijing says. Even R-ita FAN shows her worth on occasions and takes jibes at the central government at times. Jasper is even better and Beijing needs to understand that HK needs people who can eloquently express themselves instead of bumbling on each and every important issue.

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