POLITICS

Patten accused of 'inflicting wounds' on city as governor

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 06 November, 2014, 3:53am
UPDATED : Thursday, 06 November, 2014, 6:30pm

Chris Patten should stop giving personal opinions on the city's affairs because he "inflicted wounds on Hong Kong" during his tenure as the city's last governor, a former Beijing official says.

Zhang Junsheng, a former deputy director of the Xinhua News Agency's Hong Kong branch, made the remarks after a seminar in Hong Kong yesterday.

He was responding after Patten told a British parliamentary inquiry on Tuesday that there was a lack of leadership in Hong Kong on the issue of resolving the political deadlock sparked by Occupy Central. He also said Britain had not done enough to introduce democracy to the city before the1997 handover.

"Many things he [Patten] did when he was here [as governor] inflicted wounds on Hong Kong. I hope he will not give comments on Hong Kong affairs any more," said Zhang, who worked at Xinhua when it was Beijing's de facto embassy before the handover.

Patten was called a "sinner of the ages" by pre-handover Hong Kong and Macau affairs Office director Lu Ping for tweaking the electoral system to allow more Hongkongers to elect lawmakers.

In Beijing, Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei said Patten should stop inciting Occupy Central, which was unlawful.

Zhang also dismissed the Federation of Students' plan to visit Beijing during the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit next week to seek talks with state leaders. "[Even] the dialogue with the Hong Kong government was fruitless. What are you going to say in Beijing?" Zhang said.

A mainland official familiar with Hong Kong affairs, who spoke on condition of anonymity, also questioned the students' plan. "Going to Beijing directly may not be the best way to express [Hong Kong people's] views to the central government," the official said.

Lester Shum, the federation's deputy secretary general, said they were going to Beijing because it appeared the Hong Kong government was unable to resolve the political impasse.

"We hope the government can submit a report to the national legislature, telling them to retract its restrictive decision on [Hong Kong's political reform], and we are just bringing Hongkongers' voice to the central government," Shum said.

He said the students would go to Beijing after a Civil Human Rights Front march from Chater Garden in Central to the central government's liaison office in Western District on Sunday.

Front convenor Daisy Chan Sin-ying said the march would call on Beijing to heed students' demand for dialogue. She expected at least 500 to turn up.

Meanwhile, pan-democrats held an internal meeting last night, followed by a meeting with protest leaders to discuss whether lawmakers should resign to trigger by-elections as a "de facto referendum" on democracy. Civic Party leader Alan Leong Kah-kit said the groups had yet to reach a decision.

Additional reporting by Elizabeth Cheung