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China Has Made Me Invisible

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Chris Patten is not surprised by the CPC authorities’ ongoing attempts to rewrite Hong Kong’s history.
I have just discovered that I never really existed, at least as far as the goons in the Communist Party of China are concerned. In their latest effort to turn Hong Kong into a police state – it can only be a matter of time before a tear-gas shell or a Taser replaces the bauhinia flower as the city’s emblem – the Chinese authorities have taken further steps to throttle the education system. For Communists, education is above all about engineering the soul. So, the CPC has now gotten rid of any school textbooks that might tell the truth about Hong Kong’s past and its aspirations. The CPC has even gone so far as to deny that Hong Kong was ever a British colony; it was simply an occupied territory, apparently. No colony means no governor, a post I held from 1992 until Hong Kong’s handover to Chinese rule five years later. When I left Hong Kong, I noted that no one at the end of the twentieth century would want to justify colonial rule. But one cannot deny that it existed in Hong Kong from the 1840s onward, with the United Kingdom acquiring part of the territory via grants and part on a 99-year lease. The city’s incoming chief executive, John Lee, knows this perfectly well. He served as a police officer under British colonial governors like me and must have sworn an oath to the colony’s government. Although they lived in a colony, Hong Kong’s residents enjoyed far more freedom under British rule than they now do under Chinese communism. That is why many of them are fleeing the city and why many regard themselves as Hong Kongers or Hong Kong Chinese rather than simply Chinese. Opinion polls that highlight this fact will of course be stopped or censored. Lee himself had a British passport until 2012, when he had to surrender it to become a government minister.

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