Chris Patten is wrong to think Hongkongers will get full democracy if they just follow Beijing's script

Richard Scotford   27 November 2016

Chris Patten, the final British governor of Hong Kong, visited Hong Kong last Friday to give several public lectures in which he says focus should be on democracy, not independence, arguing that the burgeoning independence movement in the Chinese territory was completely counter-productive. Chris Patten attacked the supporters of independence and self-determination, who won about 20 per cent of the vote in the Legislative Council election in September.

Chris Patten, who was once called a sinner for 1,000 years by a senior Chinese official because of his efforts to reform Hong Kong before it was handed back to Beijing in 1997, remains a divisive figure.

"The danger is that they dissipate the enormously strong moral position that they established in 2014 by confusing the argument for a better form of government with the completely counter-productive demands for independence, which are bound to provoke a backlash from China," he said.

He added: "My strong, strong advice is that they should get back to talking about governance and democracy and eschew all this stuff about independence that is not going to happen and people should recognise the dangers of pretending that it might."

He added that despite his opposition to the independence movement, he would "always be a huge supporter of greater democracy and better government in Hong Kong".

So, like an overweight, cumbersome white knight, ex-governor Chris Patten rode into town on Friday to hoist his tattered banner, proclaiming that the Communist Party will definitely grant Hong Kong democracy, better governance and no corrupt leaders if only Hongkongers would stick to the script and not annoy the dragon. His pseudo-sagacious postures and prancing were met with rapture from generations of serfs who have long since become accustomed to living in fear of the dragon. Our jaded knight's reappearance was just what these peons needed to reaffirm their darkest fears, or that the dragon will definitely take away the mouldy carrot of half-baked democracy if we complain too much or, heaven forbid, become brave enough to fight for something more.

But who can blame our knight and his ilk? They have been wielding this mouldy carrot at Hong Kongers as though it were precious war booty valiantly stolen from the inner sanctums of the dragon's lair for years. It's our gleaming light at the end of Hong Kong's dark tunnel, Hong Kong's Holy Grail. For them, the now glaringly obvious lie that is One Country Two Systems and real democracy for Hong Kong was the only thing they were brave enough to win for the city. Lord Patten implored Hongkonger's to take the moral high ground and embrace the mouldy carrot like it were a beacon of hope, or our only saviour. But the city has moved on. The carrot stinks and more and more people are rejecting the lie. His lie, his country's lie, the communist's lie.

Our faded knight's antics amounted to telling the terrorised inhabitants of the city, the dragon will definitely stop stealing our gold and eating our children so long as we treat it nicely and doníŽt annoy it. Concentrate on the carrot he implored. If we do all this, and a lot more on top, he promises us that we will enjoy the benefits of the mouldy carrot of democracy, malevolently bestowed by the dragon in one hand while it plunders the city of gold with other.

For him and his kinsmen, who have built their careers and legacies on pacifying the dragon and selling the mouldy carrot as though it were a prized jewel, the only thing they can ever understand, ever see and ever preach, is more of the same. More adulation to the rotting carrot and subservience to the dragon.

But hark! Our plump crusader was not finished. Like all valiant knights, if he draws his sword he must draw blood. And draw blood he did. What's that? You think he challenged the dragon as all knights of our fair city should?

No, not at all. Our knight had not become fat and rich fighting dragons in the past, why would he start now. Instead he saved his most directed attack at the city's youth who had the audacity to disrespect the dragon.

His dull and unused sword of truth launched a melee of strikes upon the city's young upstarts, how dare they want something more. How dare they be strong enough, brave enough and valiant enough to stand up to the dragon and ask for a different future! A future which they want to control. A future not scripted by fat knights or dragons. How dare they squander the legacy of the mouldy carrot! How dare they deprive the city of the dream of half baked democracy for all. How dare they question the legitimacy of the dragon!