Hong Kong will eventually have democracy, former governor Chris Patten says, a day after legislators resoundingly rebuffed Beijing by voting down its preferred selection method for the next chief executive.
Patten, Hong Kong’s last colonial leader, told Apple Daily that Thursday’s defeat of the 2017 election reform package marked a critical moment but does not mean the fight for democracy is in a “dead knot”.
“Maintaining an open economy under rule of law will surely lead to political consequences,” he said.
“For a free city like Hong Kong that is rich in both software and hardware infrastructure, what it now lacks is only the capability to elect its own leader and such a situation will definitely not last forever,” he said.
Patten rejected accusations Britain is responsible for social and political divisions in Hong Kong, saying Beijing and some Hong Kong politicians are to blame.
He said China is bound by treaty commitments under the Sino-British Joint Declaration, the basis of the change of sovereignty.
Patten refused to comment directly on the election bill, saying “you all know my views on democracy”.
Asked how Britain can help Hong Kong fight for democracy, he said the British government should talk about core values.
Patten has been critical of London’s stance that Hong Kong people should accept the electoral reform proposal in its present form and gradually improve on it.
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