Date
17 October 2017
Former Hong Kong governor Chris Patten said there has been a misunderstanding if Chief Executive Carrie Lam was referring to him when she criticized "British politicians". Photo: Reuters
Former Hong Kong governor Chris Patten said there has been a misunderstanding if Chief Executive Carrie Lam was referring to him when she criticized "British politicians". Photo: Reuters

Chris Patten urges HK people to fight for democracy

Before Hong Kong’s last colonial governor Chris Patten ended his visit to the city on Thursday night, he left words of encouragement for the people of Hong Kong, urging them to fight for democracy.

Patten also called on Beijing to start “believing in Hong Kong people” and let them enjoy the high degree of autonomy promised them by the Basic Law, the Hong Kong Economic Journal reports.

During her visit to the United Kingdom, Chief Executive Carrie Lam criticized some British politicians for casting doubts on the independent thinking of Hong Kong judges.

Patten responded by saying that he was only criticizing the justice minister’s actions that led to the jail sentences for student leaders, but has not criticized any particular judge.

He said there has been a misunderstanding if Lam had intended to point the finger at him as the “British politician”.

Speaking at a luncheon at the Foreign Correspondents’ Club, Patten said the international community does not support Hong Kong independence, and neither do majority of the people in Hong Kong.

However, it is still Hong Kong people’s civil right to fight for democracy, and that after the jailed activists are released, no one should stop them from pursuing the struggle, he said.

Patten said he had discussed with university students the reasons why he is not supportive of Hong Kong independence.

Although he was not able to persuade all students, he said both sides had been able to have a good dialogue and presented their ideas rationally while questioning if Beijing was ready to accept people with different opinions.

Patten said Hong Kong is at the crossroads, and if she wants to continue with her important role in the international community, it is important to maintain a free and lawful society with good public service.

He stressed that the Sino-British Joint Declaration remains an international convention and that the British government should be inspecting Hong Kong’s development as it has vowed to do.

Patten said he understands the dissatisfaction in Hong Kong that led to the Umbrella Revolution three years ago, but urged the people not to give up simply because there were no obvious results.

“I have already spent 1.5 hours last year explaining why it is a bad idea to switch to another method (Hong Kong independence) just because the first one is not working,” he said.

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