GOVERNOR Chris Patten's recent attack on senior Chinese officials and their Hong Kong advisers cannot possibly lead to any constructive result. In an interview with the British newspaper The Daily Telegraph, Mr Patten accused Chinese officials of being misinformed about Hong Kong affairs, because they only talk to 'billionaires whose principal concern is that they should go on being billionaires'. The Governor tried to impress upon his fellow countrymen and others that Beijing's policies on Hong Kong were decided by a batch of uncivilised and bigoted cadres who would take counsel only with dishonest and selfish tycoons from Hong Kong. As a result of Mr Patten's invective, would Chinese officials start to listen to people he thinks they should listen to, and China's advisers start to say the kind of things he thinks they should say? Certainly not. No more than Chinese officials calling Mr Patten a 'sinner' would make him repent. The validity of the Governor's incisive remarks would be doubtful to anyone not entirely ignorant about Hong Kong. If there are people who really know 'what makes Hong Kong tick', they certainly include those who have become billionaires through doing business here. If these people saw the Chinese Government about to do something that would threaten Hong Kong's way of life, why would they not advise against it? Isn't it only natural that they will do their best to preserve the rules of the game they excel in, if their principal concern is that they should go on being billionaires? By the way, wouldn't that be the principal concern of billionaires elsewhere? The Governor did not provide any evidence to support his claim that businessmen in Hong Kong are not telling Beijing the truth about what is going on here. In fact, if he was talking about the business-biased membership of the Preparatory Committee, his allegations were highly speculative, for the committee has hardly begun work on any of the items on its agenda. I suppose one can hardly blame Mr Patten for his lack of affection for Beijing officials. Ever since he produced his electoral arrangement proposals he has been continuously berated, vilified and snubbed by Chinese officials of all ranks who are involved in Hong Kong affairs. More than once he has expressed in public his bitterness about those insults. There has been no love lost, too, between Mr Patten and the local business community, whose representatives were noticeably among those who stood up against the Governor's electoral reform plans. He has noted with undisguised jealously that his garden parties have lost their attraction to local business tycoons compared with invitations from Zhongnanhai. STILL, Mr Patten's recent attack on Beijing officials and Hong Kong magnates seemed very much unwarranted. By throwing down the gauntlet to the Preparatory Committee within days of its formation, the Governor made his earlier pledges for co-operation with the committee sound hollow. Nor would his acidic remarks help to make Beijing interpret in a positive way the open invitation he made a short while ago for Chinese Vice-Premier Qian Qichen to visit Hong Kong. Indeed, he has turned the invitation into something more like deliberate provocation, for the words falling on the ears of the Chinese leaders must be like: 'You Communist Party cadres who are concerned so much about your own face and so little about others' - who are meddling into Hong Kong affairs without an inkling of how we do business here - come and have a look, and you will see how misinformed you have been.' It has always been suggested that Mr Patten is more concerned about his image back home than about how people in Hong Kong feel. But what he said to The Daily Telegraph could hardly promote his image among his fellow countrymen, if that was his 'principal concern' when he did the interview. It is a disturbing message that one gets from the interview. Apparently Mr Patten has given up any hope of playing a positive role in co-operation with the Preparatory Committee in the remaining 500 days before the handover. He has realised that it is no longer possible to bridge the rift between himself and the Chinese Government and Hong Kong business community.