GOOD MORNING FROM LONDON
Chris Patten is a British politician who was the 28th + last Governor of Hong Kong from 1992 to 1997. He was also Chairman of the UK Conservative Party from 1990 to 1992. In a series of recent media interviews, Patten has accused President Xi’s administration of “vengefully” targeting Hong Kong’s freedoms, as he recalled the once-common argument that China’s economic opening would lead to a freer political system. In a revealing comment to the New Statesman, Patten said “I really did think it was possible that Hong Kong might change the rest of China more than China would change Hong Kong,”
Behind all the words, documents, speeches and toasts, the real goal of Patten and his supporters in the US + Europe, therefore, was to use the end of the 99 year lease and the introduction of the Basic Law to change China – and in this context the true meaning of “change” was to end the Chinese system of government and to replace it with one man one vote and the Parliamentary system of government. Never mind that China’s system had given the people of China health, prosperity and stability, the system, said Patten, had to change. Patten’s target was the Party which stood at the apex of power in China and which needed to be removed if the people were to be free.
There are arguments to be had about the nature of democracy + human rights, and there are different opinions. The Chinese experienced the UK system of democracy when in 1860 British (and French) soldiers sacked the Summer Palace, stole large amounts of Chinese antiquities and later, in 1900, put down the Boxer Rebellion with great ferocity. And it was the same UK system of democracy and human rights that forced Chinese people to become opium addicts. The prospect of Boris Johnson + Donald Trump type populists riding to power in China on the back of one man one vote is quite unattractive.