Chris Patten, Hong Kong’s last colonial leader, said the government lacked leadership in failing to offer a “statesmanlike” compromise during the 79-day democracy protests last year.
“The statesmen carried the umbrellas, while a shadowy group of communist officials in Shenzhen made the decisions and called all the shots,” Patten writes in the preface of a new book, We — Chosen By The Times, by a group of Hong Kong writers.
The book was launched in Hong Kong on Friday.
Patten said the officials were only supported by other authoritarian governments such as that of Russia’s Vladimir Putin.
Events in Hong Kong in the last months of 2014 will not be swept under the carpet and forgotten, Patten said.
“The ash-can of history is full of arguments made against freedom. Hong Kong has written the first paragraphs in the next chapter on human dignity and the invincible cause of freedom under just laws.”
Patten also criticized Beijing, saying its political structures do not reflect its economic self-confidence and vitality.
“It is insulting to suggest that the democracy demonstrators in Hong Kong were simply naive or ill-intentioned puppets of outside forces,” he said.
“Communist propagandists get no smarter or more sophisticated. It is enough to make one weep for their fearful ignorance and prejudice.”
In a Facebook post, the book’s authors and editors said they wanted to offer a record of history and remind Hong Kong people not to forget the fight for democracy.
[Go to the new book's Facebook account] (Chinese only)
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