China’s Betrayal

The former British governor of Hong Kong Christopher Patten, the last governor to serve before China took charge in 1997, has accused Beijing of betraying the city with a new proposal that would curtail its autonomy.

“What we are seeing is a new Chinese dictatorship,” Patten stated in an interview with The Times of London.

“I think the Hong Kong people have been betrayed by China, which has proved once again that you can’t trust it further than you can throw it.”

Patten told the news outlet that the U.K. government “should make it clear that what we are seeing is a complete destruction of the Joint Declaration” that transferred control of Hong Kong more than two decades ago.

“Britain has a moral, economic and legal duty to stand up for Hong Kong,” he said. “The real danger is that we are entirely limp on this. We have obligations because we signed the agreement … If we don’t have any responsibilities for the people of Hong Kong and their way of life, who do we have responsibility for?”

The proposal, submitted on the opening day of China’s national legislative session, would ban secessionist activity in the territory as well as foreign interference.

Hong Kong’s chief executive, Carrie Lam, has vowed to “fully cooperate” with the Chinese parliament on the measure.

Meanwhile, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has sharply criticized the move, calling it “a death knell for the high degree of autonomy” China pledged to grant Hong Kong through 2047.

Yvad Billings, Readers Bureau, Fellow

Edited by Jesus Chan

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