Patten rejects China award

THE Governor, Mr Chris Patten, yesterday said he would not accept an award commending him for promoting democracy in China.

Mr Patten is one of three people named by the Chinese Democracy Education Foundation of California as 1992 Distinguished Persons for the Advancement of Democracy in China.

The others are Mr Liu Qing, who was active in the Democracy Wall Movement in Beijing in 1978, and member of the US House of Representatives Ms Nancy Pelosi, who has been in the forefront of the fight to improve China's human rights record.

Leading liberal leaders including Mr Martin Lee Chu-ming and Mr Szeto Wah were given the award after they led a strong protest against the Tiananmen Square crackdown in 1989.

The Governor's spokesman, Mr Mike Hanson, said Mr Patten's responsibility ''begins and ends in Hongkong''.

''He believes in one country, two systems.'' Stressing that the Government had heard nothing about the award except from the newspapers, Mr Hanson said: ''If it is true, the Governor would not accept it.'' Yesterday's announcement of the awards cited Mr Patten's first policy speech, delivered last October, and mentioned in particular his proposed changes for the 1995 elections to the Legislative Council.

''Mr Patten's package relates to political system only in Hongkong and the political system in China is a matter for China and the Chinese people and not for the Government of Hongkong,'' Mr Hanson said.

Meeting Point legislator Mr Fred Li Wah-ming said Mr Patten's model for the future constitutional development was only a small step forward.

Despite his reservations about the award, Mr Li said it was up to the Governor to decide whether or not to accept it.

Another legislator, Miss Emily Lau Wai-hing, said it was right for Mr Patten to turn down the award.

''I think it was a joke. What has he done for China?'' she said.