- Apr 17, 2009
It is a well known fact that in PRC there is nothing called 'civil liberties'.Lord Patten attacks Beijing over interference in Hong Kong
Hong Kong's last governor speaks out against controversial Beijing policy document that has outraged lawyers and democracy campaigners in the former British colony
Chris Patten, the last governor of Hong Kong, has attacked Beijing's increasingly assertive policies towards the former British colony, amid an escalating row between China's Communist Party leaders and pro-democracy campaigners.
Lord Patten, who oversaw the colony's return to Chinese control exactly 17 years ago this week, has rarely made public his views on its running.
However, he said he now felt "compelled" to speak out after Beijing released a highly controversial "white paper" in June that has horrified Hong Kong's legal community.
The lengthy policy document – which was widely interpreted as a warning to Hong Kong's pro-democracy movement – said "loving the country" was a political requirement for judges and civil servants in the semi-autonomous territory.
"The rule of law isn't a matter – as the Chinese white paper rather surprisingly suggested – of judges being part of a branch of the administration," Lord Patten said in an interview with The Financial Times.
"Judges under the rule of [Hong Kong] law are independent and there shouldn't be any question of them being instructed or pressed to subordinate their views of due process and what is legal to some other political considerations."
Lord Patten's intervention comes days after hundreds of thousands of people took to Hong Kong's streets to protest against what many see as Beijing's increasing meddling in its affairs. Demonstrators at the annual July 1 march, which marks the anniversary of handover, said they had been infuriated by Beijing's white paper, which warned that Hong Kong enjoys neither "full autonomy" nor any "residual power".
Pro-democracy campaigners are pushing for the right to choose and elect Hong Kong's leader by 2017 and some groups have threatened to launch a wave of protests over the summer if those demands are not met.
Beijing has reacted forcefully, even issuing veiled threats about possible military intervention if it deems protests to have gone too far.
"Hong Kong would likely fall into chaos like Ukraine and Thailand" if "radical" demonstrators were not brought under control, the state-run Global Times newspaper warned on Friday.
Democracy activists have criticised the British government for failing to speak out against what they say is Beijing's rapid erosion of their civil rights.
David Cameron, who recently welcomed Li Keqiang, the Chinese Premier, to the UK had uttered "not a word of criticism" over Beijing's Hong Kong policies, Martin Lee, the veteran pro-democracy activist, told The Telegraph.
"I think the British government has simply kowtowed to Beijing over 30 pieces of silver," he said.
The 1997 handover of Hong Kong was preceded by the signing of the 1984 Sino-British Joint Declaration in Beijing.
That document outlined the "one country, two systems" policy under which it would be run and guaranteed the continuation of basic freedoms and judicial independence in what was to become a Chinese "special administrative region".
However, speaking this week, Lord Patten suggested the British government would not have signed that agreement with China had Beijing expressed its current views on the running of Hong Kong.
"We couldn't possibly have signed a white paper which said that the joint declaration is really a single declaration."
Martin Lee, who is a lawyer and one of the founders of Hong Kong's Democratic Party, accused the Communist Party of backtracking from commitments made in the 1984 agreement.
"Under the declaration, Hong Kong people were promised a high degree of autonomy. Now the Chinese policy is that the central government has "comprehensive jurisdiction" – so they can do everything. If that is so, what happened to our high degree of autonomy?"
Mr Patten said he believed it was "wholly reasonable for Hong Kong citizens to express concerns to both signatories if they think the terms of that Joint Declaration are being questioned or undermined".
Lord Patten attacks Beijing over interference in Hong Kong - Telegraph
Now, if HK is a part of China, it is obvious that civil liberties will slowly be squeezed out and that is what PRC is doing.
If the British did not realise that Communists are the wiliest of folks who have no qualm to renegade, then it is the British who are the fools who have been allowed to be fooled.
It makes no sense to now show outrage and more so, when Britain is but a has been and no longer rules the waves!
Chinese Communist will renegade. That is in the DNA of the Chinese Communists. During negotiation they will promise the moon and in actuality once they have achieved their aim, they will betray all. Morality, political, ideological and whatever is not in their DNA of the Communist Chinese.