In June 1992 Chris Patten went to Hong Kong as the last British governor, to try to prepare it not (as other British colonies over the decades) for independence, but for handing back in 1997 to the Chinese, from whom most of its territory had been leased 99 years previously. Over the next five years he kept this diary. The book gives unprecedented insights into negotiating with the Chinese, about how the institutions of democracy in Hong Kong were (belatedly) strengthened and how Patten sought to ensure that a strong degree of self-government would continue after 1997. The book concludes with an account of what has happened in Hong Kong since the handover, a powerful assessment of recent events and Patten’s reflections on how to deal with China – then and now.
Chris Patten is Chancellor of Oxford University. When MP for Bath (1979-92) he served as Minister for Overseas Development, Secretary of State for the Environment and Chairman of the Conservative Party. He was Governor of Hong Kong from 1992 until 1997, then Chairman for the Independent Commission on Policing after the Good Friday Peace Agreement, which reported in 1999.