Patten's Taoist prayer

Hong Kong handover
(AP) - To the chanting of Taoist worshippers and the chiming of bells, Chris Patten, the Governor, offered a prayer that Hong Kong's freedom and prosperity will continue after he departs with the end of British rule on Monday.

The venue was a fitting one: a temple devoted to the god Wong Tai Sin, consulted by Hong Kong people on everything from horse-racing tips and lottery tickets to marriage plans and business proposals. The last British governor - a practising Roman Catholic - and his wife, Lavender, helped to release 108 birds from cages in a ceremony seeking blessings for Hong Kong. "My prayer is the same as it will be on Monday: that Hong Kong continues to enjoy the freedoms and the prosperity which have made it one of the greatest cities in the world," Mr Patten said.