Hong Kong’s last British governor, Chris Patten, had a rather blunt message for students during his speech – don’t even think of independence for Hong Kong.
Patten was speaking to the press after a seminar with students at the University of Hong Kong on Monday.
“I am going to say something which you may not want to hear: Hong Kong is a great society. It is not a nation state.”
Patten took questions from students who challenged this idea. “I just happen to think – you are wrong,” he replied.
Independence activist Edward Leung Tin-kei asked Patten why Hong Kong should remain part of China.
“I am a huge admirer of China, Chinese culture, Chinese history, Chinese art … I am not a great fan of Leninism or the Chinese Communist Party.
“But the Communist Party is at present ruling China. If you think in the next two to five years, you can overthrow the party and Hong Kong can become independent, I just think you are deceiving yourself.”
He warned students not to confused universal suffrage with independence and added that the moves of the pro-independence lawmakers had lost them support, both in Hong Kong and overseas.
Patten, 72, was the last governor of Hong Kong, serving from 1992 until the 1997 handover.