Patten ridicules Hong Kong turncoats

Hong Kong's Governor, Chris Patten, has decided to get personal - really personal - when attacking those who have abandoned what he regards as their previous principles and joined Chinese-appointed bodies.

Having previously tried gentle persuasion, punctuated by occasional eruptions of anger, Mr Patten now appears to have opted for a strategy of all-out attack in the dying days of his governorship.

Transforming the normally staid and rarely humourous, chamber of the colony's Legislative Council into an approximation of the House of Commons on one of the roughest days at the dispatch box, Mr Patten yesterday picked off the former members of the Governor's cabinet and others who are now supporting China's plans to change civil rights legislation, primarily the Bill of Rights.

Digging into the archives, he quoted from speeches they had made in their previous capacities supporting the Bill of Rights and warning of attacks on civil liberties. He quoted Maria Tam, a former cabinet member, now a stalwart of the new order, as saying in 1991 that she believed the Bill of Rights to be "a proper arrangement in safeguarding the rights of those who live in this territory now and in the years to come'.

And Paul Cheng, a leading business representative who has taken to mounting personal attacks on the Governor, looked sheepish as Mr Patten dragged out a speech he made in 1990 describing the Bill as strengthening "the foundations of the existing legal system by giving due recognition to the civil and political rights of our citizenry".

Yesterday's performance by Mr Patten represented his most public demonstration of anger against leading members of Hong Kong's elite whom he believes have done nothing to protect the colony's civil liberties. "These are the people", one of his officials said, "who have gone from a garden party at Buckingham Palace to a banquet at the Great Hall of the People [in Peking] without dropping into Damascus to announce their conversion".

The Governor even turned on Andrew Wong, the President of the Legislative Council, who was sitting next to him, and will tomorrow attempt to secure the presidency of the rival, Chinese-appointed, provisional legislature when it holds its first meeting across the border in Shenzhen. Mr Patten dismissively described this body as the "Shenzhen debating society".

Asked how he felt about sitting next to Mr Wong, he said, "I am a man of legendary charity", adding: "Everybody has to justify their actions, everybody has to be at ease with their conscience". Listening, the hard- smoking and hard-drinking Mr Wong cheerfully declared that he, too, was a man of legendary charity.

Mr Patten said that the rival body would create a "terrible legal muddle" and warned that the incoming government would spend its early days fighting legal battles to sort out the chaos created by having to cope with laws enacted by a provisional body while the legally constituted legislature was still in being.

Although Mr Patten had even his enemies laughing as he deployed his sharpest irony to put them down, there was no mistaking the feeling that he was also burning all bridges in a final attempt to prevent China from turning the clock back on a number of democratic and civil rights reforms.

Kerry McGlynn, the Governor's spokesman, denied that he was becoming too personal. "He's trying to make the point that there's something the people of Hong Kong can do. He's trying to put the heat on members of the Preparatory Committee [which is advising China on law changes] to get this reversed," Mr McGlynn explained.

Communications between the Governor and Chinese officials have broken down. His most senior civil servants are anxious about their future under the new regime and spending more time listening to Tung Chee-hwa, the new head of government.

They know that close association with Mr Patten will not be considered as a path to career advancement.

Suggested Topics
News
people Emma Watson addresses celebrity nude photo leak
News
Katie Hopkins appearing on 'This Morning' after she purposefully put on 4 stone.
peopleKatie Hopkins breaks down in tears over weight gain challenge
News
Boris Johnson may be manoeuvring to succeed David Cameron
i100
News
His band Survivor was due to resume touring this month
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
News
people'It can last and it's terrifying'
News
In this photo illustration a school student eats a hamburger as part of his lunch which was brought from a fast food shop near his school, on October 5, 2005 in London, England. The British government has announced plans to remove junk food from school lunches. From September 2006, food that is high in fat, sugar or salt will be banned from meals and removed from vending machines in schools across England. The move comes in response to a campaign by celebrity TV chef Jamie Oliver to improve school meals.
science
Arts and Entertainment
tv
Life and Style
fashionModel of the moment shoots for first time with catwalk veteran
Life and Style
fashionAngelina Jolie's wedding dressed revealed
News
i100
Sport
Tom Cleverley
footballLoan move comes 17 hours after close of transfer window
Sport
Alexis Sanchez, Radamel Falcao, Diego Costa and Mario Balotelli
footballRadamel Falcao and Diego Costa head record £835m influx
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Madame Vastra and Jenny Flint kiss in Doctor Who episode 'Deep Breath'
tv
Extras
indybest 9 best steam generator irons
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

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

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Project Officer (HMP Brixton Mentoring Project)

£24,000 per annum pro rata (21 hours per week): Belong: Work as part of a cutt...

Construction Solicitor / Partner

Highly Competitive Package: Austen Lloyd: BRISTOL - Senior Construction Solici...

Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £45000 per annum + uncapped: SThree: Key featuresA highly motivated ...

DT teachers required for supply roles in Cambridge

£21000 - £35000 per annum: Randstad Education Cambridge: DT teachers required ...

Day In a Page

'I’ll tell you what I would not serve - lamb and potatoes': US ambassador hits out at stodgy British food served at diplomatic dinners

'I’ll tell you what I would not serve - lamb and potatoes'

US ambassador hits out at stodgy British food
Radio Times female powerlist: A 'revolution' in TV gender roles

A 'revolution' in TV gender roles

Inside the Radio Times female powerlist
Endgame: James Frey's literary treasure hunt

James Frey's literary treasure hunt

Riddling trilogy could net you $3m
Fitbit: Because the tingle feels so good

Fitbit: Because the tingle feels so good

What David Sedaris learnt about the world from his fitness tracker
Saudis risk new Muslim division with proposal to move Mohamed’s tomb

Saudis risk new Muslim division with proposal to move Mohamed’s tomb

Second-holiest site in Islam attracts millions of pilgrims each year
Alexander Fury: The designer names to look for at fashion week this season

The big names to look for this fashion week

This week, designers begin to show their spring 2015 collections in New York
Will Self: 'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

Will Self takes aim at Orwell's rules for writing plain English
Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

Toy guns proving a popular diversion in a country flooded with the real thing
Al Pacino wows Venice

Al Pacino wows Venice

Ham among the brilliance as actor premieres two films at festival
Neil Lawson Baker interview: ‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.

Neil Lawson Baker interview

‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.
The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

Wife of President Robert Mugabe appears to have her sights set on succeeding her husband
The model of a gadget launch: Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed

The model for a gadget launch

Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed
Alice Roberts: She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

Alice Roberts talks about her new book on evolution - and why her early TV work drew flak from (mostly male) colleagues
Get well soon, Joan Rivers - an inspiration, whether she likes it or not

Get well soon, Joan Rivers

She is awful. But she's also wonderful, not in spite of but because of the fact she's forever saying appalling things, argues Ellen E Jones
Doctor Who Into the Dalek review: A classic sci-fi adventure with all the spectacle of a blockbuster

A fresh take on an old foe

Doctor Who Into the Dalek more than compensated for last week's nonsensical offering