China bars Patten's men from future role in Hong Kong

Any lingering doubts about whether China will tolerate the smallest degree of independence in the running of Hong Kong have been dispelled this week, in moves that have surprised even some of China's most enthusiastic supporters in the territory, which reverts to Chinese rule next year.

At the beginning of the week, Lu Ping, China's most senior official dealing with Hong Kong, said the only member of Peking's hand- picked Preparatory Committee, who voted against the dissolution of the existing legislature and its replacement by a temporary appointed body, would be barred from serving on the new council and could not take part in the selection of members.

It was later confirmed also that no members of the majority Democratic Party would be allowed to join the council.

Then, China announced the new body would be established before the end of colonial rule and would enact a host of laws scrapping the modest democratic reforms introduced by the Governor, Chris Patten.

The following day, China stipulated that civil servants would have to declare loyalty to the new body if they wished to remain in its employment.

Traditionally, civil servants have always been considered part of the executive wing of government and have never been called on to express views on the nature of the legislature. But an unnamed Chinese official was quoted by the pro-Peking Hongkong Standard as saying the new regime would not tolerate senior officials who had supported Mr Patten.

China has denied intending to establish a shadow government, but seems to be trying instead to neutralise the Patten administration.

China's unwillingness to tolerate any dissent, even from those serving on bodies it has picked to advise Peking on the transfer of power, has been criticised by Mr Patten, the Foreign Office and Washington. But although they have all protested against the dismantling of the existing legislature, China has shown no sign of concern about these protests.

The move to get civil servants to distance themselves from the Governor publicly has prompted rare expressions of unease from Peking's supporters in the territory. Eric Li, of the Preparatory Committee, said: "Civil servants should not have a political stance, or publicise their political will."

Michael DeGolyer, head of the Baptist University's Hong Kong Transition Project, a study of issues raised by the hand-over of power, pointed out that public declarations of loyalty would also be required from the judiciary. This would constitute a serious challenge to their independence, he said.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Senior Environmental Adviser - Maternity Cover

£37040 - £43600 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The UK's export credit agency a...

Recruitment Genius: CBM & Lubrication Technician

£25000 - £27500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company provides a compreh...

Recruitment Genius: Care Worker - Residential Emergency Service

£16800 - £19500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Would you like to join an organ...

Recruitment Genius: Senior Landscaper

£25000 - £28000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: In the last five years this com...

Day In a Page

Refugee crisis: David Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia - will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi?

Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia...

But will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi, asks Robert Fisk
Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Humanity must be at the heart of politics, says Jeremy Corbyn
Joe Biden's 'tease tour': Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?

Joe Biden's 'tease tour'

Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?
Britain's 24-hour culture: With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever

Britain's 24-hour culture

With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever
Diplomacy board game: Treachery is the way to win - which makes it just like the real thing

The addictive nature of Diplomacy

Bullying, betrayal, aggression – it may be just a board game, but the family that plays Diplomacy may never look at each other in the same way again
Lady Chatterley's Lover: Racy underwear for fans of DH Lawrence's equally racy tome

Fashion: Ooh, Lady Chatterley!

Take inspiration from DH Lawrence's racy tome with equally racy underwear
8 best children's clocks

Tick-tock: 8 best children's clocks

Whether you’re teaching them to tell the time or putting the finishing touches to a nursery, there’s a ticker for that
Charlie Austin: Queens Park Rangers striker says ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

Charlie Austin: ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

After hitting 18 goals in the Premier League last season, the QPR striker was the great non-deal of transfer deadline day. But he says he'd preferred another shot at promotion
Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea
Tunisia fears its Arab Spring could be reversed as the new regime becomes as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor

The Arab Spring reversed

Tunisian protesters fear that a new law will whitewash corrupt businessmen and officials, but they are finding that the new regime is becoming as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor
King Arthur: Legendary figure was real and lived most of his life in Strathclyde, academic claims

Academic claims King Arthur was real - and reveals where he lived

Dr Andrew Breeze says the legendary figure did exist – but was a general, not a king
Who is Oliver Bonas and how has he captured middle-class hearts?

Who is Oliver Bonas?

It's the first high-street store to pay its staff the living wage, and it saw out the recession in style
Earth has 'lost more than half its trees' since humans first started cutting them down

Axe-wielding Man fells half the world’s trees – leaving us just 422 each

However, the number of trees may be eight times higher than previously thought
60 years of Scalextric: Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones

60 years of Scalextric

Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones