Patten quits Murdoch to escape book censorship

CHRIS PATTEN, the last governor of Hong Kong, has switched publishers for his forthcoming memoirs to prevent editorial censorship by Rupert Murdoch.

Mr Patten has decided to have his book East and West published by Macmillan rather than Mr Murdoch's company HarperCollins.

The move follows a row over Mr Murdoch's attempt to censor criticism of the Chinese authorities contained within the book, which recounts Mr Patten's experiences in the former colony. Yesterday, it was announced that Stuart Proffitt - the senior editor at HarperCollins who had been working on East and West - had left the company. His departure comes in the wake of a altercation with senior executives over an instruction to alter the text.

Mr Murdoch has extensive business interests in South-east Asia and in 1994 stopped the BBC - considered by China to be unfriendly - from broadcasting on Star TV, his Far East satellite channel. Mr Patten denounced that move as a "seedy betrayal" of the right to free speech.

The former governor said last night: "I am adamant that my book will be read the way I intended it to be read. It is going to be quite a story."

Editor's departure, page 2

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