Governor Chris Patten warned last night that whatever China attempted to do in Hong Kong after 1997 'the development of civil society is unstoppable'. Mr Patten repeated his condemnation of China's plans to scrap Legco. 'You can't turn back what has taken place in Hong Kong any more than you can turn it back in other parts of Asia.' China could get the Preparatory Committee to vote for eliminating an institution, but could not take Hong Kong backwards, he said. Paraphrasing Mao Zedong , Mr Patten said: 'Chinese officials might try and tie some knots and drop quite a few boulders on quite a few feet of people in Hong Kong. 'It doesn't hugely depress me in the medium or long term because I think what has started in Hong Kong, the development of a civil society, is unstoppable.' Speaking at the Economic and Social Research Council, in London, Mr Patten predicted that in 10 years' time Hong Kong would still be open and democratic. Its people could not be shut out of the discussion of their own future. People in Hong Kong and outside would see any institution as less credible if it was established only on the advice of those who Chinese officials wanted to hear. He said 60 to 70 per cent of Hong Kong people voted Democrat. 'You can't govern Hong Kong successfully, or any community successfully, on the basis that you will only talk to those people who will guarantee in advance to agree with whatever conclusion you reach.' The Governor said he believed Mr Lu, an 'experienced public official', would make it clear that he would talk to anybody who had a contribution to make. 'And that means everybody in Hong Kong,' Mr Patten added.