Patten denies secret pact on Hong Kong with China
Tuesday 27 October 1992
'There were no secret deals, no secret arrangements,' he said in a BBC television interview. However, the issue is unlikely to die down unless Britain agrees to publish a series of exchanges of letters between London and Peking, dated early 1990, which the Chinese side is claiming include commitments from London over arrangements for Hong Kong's 1995 Legislative Council elections.
The Chinese allegations were revealed by Lu Ping, director of the Chinese State Council's Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office, in Peking on Friday in the fiercest attack yet on Mr Patten's plans to increase democracy in the colony.
Mr Patten's two-day visit last week to China left the two sides deadlocked over his political blueprint, with threats from Mr Lu that China would form its own Legislative Council in Hong Kong in 1997 and separate warnings that it would not honour contracts on the new airport if Hong Kong went ahead without Peking's approval.
The worsening row between Mr Patten and Peking yesterday finally brought Hong Kong's stock market down to earth. After an upward surge last week, the index yesterday collapsed by 200 points, or 4 per cent, on Friday's close.
Mr Patten told the Legislative Council at the weekend that he had 'no objection whatsoever' to publication of the letters if the Chinese and the British sides so wished. Mr Patten has won widespread public support in Hong Kong with his promises of open and accountable government, and this may encourage the Foreign Office to make the letters available. It is understood there were up to three exchanges of letters between the Foreign Secretary, Douglas Hurd, and his Chinese counterpart, Qian Qichen. The British Foreign Office yesterday came under pressure to make public the content of the letters.
Until last week, the Chinese had criticised Mr Patten's election proposals on the grounds that they conflicted with the Basic Law, China's mini-constitution for Hong Kong after 1997. Mr Lu on Friday said the alleged secret pact meant that Britain had also agreed that the 1995 electoral arrangements should be modelled on parts of the Basic Law. Mr Patten maintains the Basic Law makes it clear he is free to put forward his proposals.
Hamish McRae, page 19
food + drinkMichelin-starred Tom Sellers on being this year's hottest property
tvParents (and kids) rejoice! A new wave of fantastic family entertainment is here
booksGeese, gorillas, grandads... and growing up
food + drinkHow one grocery e-tailer is gearing up for the Yuletide rush
food + drink
Nelson Mandela: 11 inspirational quotes to live your life by
Queen to miss Nelson Mandela funeral over security and long-haul flight concerns
'Never a good time to increase MPs' pay': Jack Straw defends politicians' 11% pay rise in face of public outrage
The 'terrorist' and the Tories: What did Nelson Mandela really think of Margaret Thatcher?
Japan cracks down on leaks after scandal of Fukushima nuclear power plant
- 1 Hundreds arrested as Canadian police smash worldwide paedophile ring
- 3 The man who made Femen: New film outs Victor Svyatski as the mastermind behind the protest group and its breast-baring stunts
- 4 Mass murder in the Middle East is funded by our friends the Saudis
- 5 Japan cracks down on leaks after scandal of Fukushima nuclear power plant
- < Previous
- Next >
£80000 - £100000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: Senior C++ De...
£25000 - £50000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: C++ Server Dev...
£300 - £350 per day: Harrington Starr: Leading Electronic Trading Software Ven...
£23999 - £32001 per annum + Benefits: Pro-Recruitment Group: An independent ac...