David Cameron’s choice of the century: To confront or kowtow?

Noah Sin | 20 August 2014 | Backbench

For good or for ill, plenty has happened since I wrote for The Independent calling for Britain’s intervention in Hong Kong to secure democracy over a month ago.

Former governor Chris Patten broke his long silence over Hong Kong’s future, as he slammed China’s assault on Hong Kong’s judicial independence. Shortly after, Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg greeted veteran leading democrats from Hong Kong who were declined an audience with the Prime Minister, and criticised his coalition partners for their failure to stand up to China. In the media, The Economist published two articles on Hong Kong in the same issue; one investigates the contagious culture of self-censorship under Chinese rule, whereas the other recommends Cameron to serve Britain’s ‘broader interests’ by taking a lead in mobilising the international community against China.

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Anson Chan, former ‘Iron Lady’ of Hong Kong, now fights for democratic rights

William Wan | 5 August 2014 | Washington Post | Reposted in the Guardian Weekly

She is often called the “Iron Lady” of Hong Kong. Anson Chan earned respect serving as Hong Kong’s second-highest official when the British were in charge. And when the colony was handed back to China in 1997, Beijing enlisted Chan to help with that transition.

“I never in my wildest dream predicted 17 years after the handover that Hong Kong would be in this state. Nor did I foresee – and this is particularly disappointing – that all three parties to the joint declaration and the Basic Law [Hong Kong’s equivalent of a constitution] – Beijing, Britain, Hong Kong’s government – would all choose to walk away from their promises to the people of Hong Kong.”

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Nick Clegg meets Hong Kong democracy activists

Nicholas Watt | 15 July 2014 | The Guardian

“The UK remains fully committed to the joint declaration and we will not shy away from defending the principle of ‘one country, two systems’. This government believes that the best way to preserve Hong Kong’s strengths and to ensure that it continues to prosper is through a transition to universal suffrage which meets the aspirations of the people of Hong Kong.

“The important thing is that the people of Hong Kong have a genuine choice and feel that they have a real stake in the outcome of the 2017 election.”

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Former Hong Kong official says UK failing to defend democracy

Demetri Sevastopulo, Kiran Stacey | 22 June 2014 | Financial Times

Anson Chan, the number two official in Hong Kong when the UK handed the colony back to China in 1997, has criticised British prime minister David Cameron for failing to stand up for democracy in the territory.

Mrs Chan, the former chief secretary, said Mr Cameron had neglected to voice support for Hong Kong when he met Chinese Premier Li Keqiang last week. Their meeting took place amid a fierce debate in Hong Kong over relations with China following Beijing’s recent publication of a controversial white paper suggesting there were limits to the territory’s democracy.

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Hong Kong Ex-Governor: To Resist Elections Is ‘Spitting in The Wind’

Natasha Brereton-Fukui | 11 November 2013 | Wall Street Journal

Any erosion of Hong Kong’s economic independence could not only threaten its desirability as an international financial center but hurt China as well, the last governor of the former British colony said in an interview, adding it was inevitable that the authorities would have to give residents greater sway over how the territory is run.

Speaking to The Wall Street Journal during a trip to Singapore, Chris Patten – who governed Hong Kong from 1992 to 1997 – said the core challenge for Hong Kong had always been to combine its openness with the Chinese success story.

“The only thing [Hong Kong] doesn’t have is the right to elect its own government, and sooner or later it will have, because you can’t give people control over all the economic and social decisions in their lives but not allow them to determine who collects their rubbish or how their children should be educated or how their health service should be run,” Lord Patten said. “Anybody who tries to resist that is, I think, spitting in the wind.”

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