BEIJING (AFP) - China admonished the last British governor of Hong Kong on Wednesday, after he called on London to do more to encourage democracy in the former colony.
Chris Patten, who oversaw the transfer of Hong Kong from British to Chinese rule in 1997, had said Beijing was wrong to insist the situation in the territory was nothing to do with London, due to the binding agreements signed between the governments.
"He should stop his words and actions that embolden the Occupy Central movement," Beijing's foreign ministry spokesman Hong Lei said at a regular briefing, referring to the demonstrators who have staged street rallies and road blockades for more than a month.
"As the last governor marking the end of the UK's colonial rule over Hong Kong, he should know better and see clearly that the times have changed." The protestors in Hong Kong are calling for free leadership elections in 2017, when universal suffrage has been promised.
"When China asserts that what's happening in Hong Kong is nothing to do with us, we should make it absolutely clear, publicly and privately, that is absolutely not the case," Patten said Tuesday, adding he was "amazed" that Britain's Foreign Office was not pushing harder at Beijing.
Patten was testifying before parliament's Foreign Affairs Committee, which is looking into Britain's relations with Hong Kong 30 years after the Joint Declaration, the agreement that outlined the city's return to Chinese sovereignty.
"Hong Kong affairs are China's domestic affairs; no foreign government or individual has the right to interfere in Hong Kong affairs in any way," Hong said.