The Governor thanked Democratic Party chairman Martin Lee Chu-ming for speaking in favour of renewal of China's Most Favoured Nation trading status during his trip to the United States. Chris Patten was responding to criticism from Beijing of Mr Lee. Mr Patten said: 'I think we should all be very grateful to Mr Lee that using that position he has spoken out so forcefully for the renewal of MFN. 'I would like to express my gratitude to him,' said Mr Patten. 'I'm sure that leaders of the business community in Hong Kong would also like to express their gratitude to Mr Lee for speaking out on an issue which is so important to Hong Kong's economic well-being and prosperity,' he said. Foreign Ministry spokesman Shen Guofang said in Beijing on Tuesday: 'Martin Lee has gone to a lot of places in the world in order to encourage international forces to interfere in the internal affairs of Hong Kong. But he is merely spreading rumours and acting against the interests of the Hong Kong people and he is doing this for his own personal gain.' Mr Patten dismissed Mr Shen's comments as abusive propaganda.