Letter: The future of Hong Kong: Chris Patten's far-sighted approach; facts about the Governor's conduct

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The Independent Online
Sir: I am appalled to read that Sir David Akers-Jones has been vilified and called a 'traitor' because he has chosen to be an adviser to China. Does the British public know who Sir David Akers-Jones is? He is one of the most senior public servants in Hong Kong. When he repudiates Chris Patten's claim that what he is doing is consistent with previous understandings with China, he speaks with authority, because he was one of the principal architects of them. Does the British public realise that all the British Sinologists (that is, everyone with special knowledge of the issue), almost the entire business community in Hong Kong and many more people of prominence share Sir David's view? Are all of these people sycophants and opportunists?

Does the British public know the facts about Mr Patten's conduct? For instance, that Mr Patten kept his key policy speech secret before presenting it publicly, and the following day replaced all but two of his Executive Council? That he then fostered a popular movement in support of his 'proposals', which (arguably) did not previously exist because in the first election ever, in 1991, only 18 per cent of the eligible electorate voted? That he then went round the world seeking international endorsement for his 'proposals', his plan being (arguably) to make them impossible for China to resist? So much for his being

prepared to negotiate 'without preconditions'.

Yours faithfully,

ANDREW CARVERHILL

Hong Kong

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