The Hong Kong Diaries (Hardback)
  • The Hong Kong Diaries (Hardback)
zoom

The Hong Kong Diaries (Hardback)

(author)
£30.00
Hardback 560 Pages
Published: 21/06/2022
  • In stock
  • Free UK delivery

Usually dispatched within 2-3 working days

  • This item has been added to your basket
Waterstones Says

Illuminating and insightful, the diaries that the last British governor of Hong Kong kept during his five-year tenure provide an unprecedented window into diplomatic negotiation at the highest level.

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, which describes in detail how Hong Kong was run as a British colony and what happened as the handover approached.

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.

Unexpectedly, his opponents included not only the Chinese themselves, but some British businessmen and civil service mandarins upset by Patten's efforts, for whom political freedom and the rule of law in Hong Kong seemed less important than keeping on the right side of Beijing. 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.

Publisher: Penguin Books Ltd
ISBN: 9780241560495
Number of pages: 560
Weight: 1000 g
Dimensions: 236 x 154 x 38 mm


MEDIA REVIEWS

Patten's diaries over the next five years describe in detail his day-to-day battles with the Chinese ... a terrific tale, one that will appeal not just to Sinologists but to all historians, since it is effectively a record of the end days of an empire ... At times, the diaries read like a novel ... His chatty style makes the[m] an easy read - Simon Murray, Daily Telegraph

wonderfully waspish, fascinating and rude in spades about all the people who deserve nothing less. - Stephen Vines, Literary Review

Patten has now published his diaries of five tumultuous years in office, from 1992 to 1997, recording battles against the comrades, the tycoons, the doubters in the cabinet and mandarins everywhere. As you might expect, they are urbane, sardonic and quotable ... his plan was to extend the vote and to democratise local government. The magnates were aghast, the diplomats shuddered and the Chinese, who loathed such notions, ostracised the governor after one round of talks in Beijing ... Yet it was a brave and decent thing to try, an endeavour recorded for posterity in these pages. - Michael Sheriden, Sunday Times

the diaries themselves, kept from the time of his appointment in April 1992 to the handover just over five years later, have not been seen before and make for consistently good reading ... Patten also has something powerful to say about Hong Kong today. This takes the form of a passionate polemical essay, written as a postscript to the diaries, about China's increasingly brutal sabotage of the Hong Kong deals. Patten brings terrific energy to his denunciation of Xi Jinping's crackdown on the territory. ... Twenty-five years on, with the global order turning more nationalist and inward, the diaries are a witness that despite his limited achievements, it was Patten who called the outcome more accurately and more honourably than they did. - Martin Kettle, The Guardian

As an insider's account, The Hong Kong Diaries is filled with that daily sense of grappling with a multi-headed hydra ... There is an inescapable poignancy to reading this diary in 2022: it is a snapshot of a unique moment at the end of empire, and a now fading picture of an extraordinary society that flourished in its brief moment of freedom. - Isabel Hilton, Times Literary Supplement

Lord Patten spent much of his time in Hong Kong struggling against British officials and members of the local elite who believed it was not worth trying to push China to accept more democracy in pre-handover Hong Kong-much less expanding it without China's approval. Some of the most riveting detail in this rich volume relates to these tensions. ... The author's entertaining language brings these diaries to life. - Economist

In Patten's diaries we see everyone from Mother Teresa to Margaret Thatcher passing through the governor's living room ... Eschewing the feathered hat, the uniform and all the other flummery that goes with governing an outpost of the British empire, he plunges into a series of walkabouts, holds public meetings, looks for ways of redistributing some wealth and makes no secret of his sympathy for the democrats. - Chris Mullin, Spectator

minutely observe[s] how China broke its promises - first insidiously and gradually and then openly and suddenly - and the impact on the lives of Hong Kongers ... Patten's diaries of his frustrating yet rewarding stint as governor cover the years from 1992 to the 1997 handover ... [he] is a genial and self-deprecating companion through the years leading up to the handover ... In the course of his diaries, Patten argues convincingly that for Britain or any other country to abandon liberal principles and yield to the Chinese Communist party's demands at every opportunity brings neither political nor commercial benefits. The trade and investment statistics he cites from the final decades of British rule do indeed suggest there is little correlation between grovelling and real rewards for business. - Victor Mallet, Financial Times

In The Hong Kong Diaries Chris Patten details his struggle as the last governor of Hong Kong to energise the dying days of British rule. Patten's conviction that planting the seed of democracy would make Hong Kong more resilient after the handover to China will long be debated by historians, and this book will be an essential source. But it is also to be treasured for the brilliant and fierce concluding essay on China's recent crackdown which has destroyed Hong Kong's way of life. As Patten says, 'Hong Kong's fight is our fight'. - Peter Ricketts, Engelsberg Ideas Books of the Year

The Hong Kong Diaries ... details his persistent but ultimately failed efforts to secure the continuance of Hong Kong's freedoms ... Despite Mr. Patten's best efforts, Hong Kong became the canary in the mine shaft, showing what happens when the Chinese Communist Party is allowed to get its way. - L. Gordon Crovitz, Wall Street Journal

You may also be interested in...

Politics On the Edge
Added to basket
£10.99   £8.99
Paperback
How They Broke Britain
Added to basket
£10.99   £9.49
Paperback
Doppelganger
Added to basket
£10.99   £9.49
Paperback
How Westminster Works . . . and Why It Doesn't
Added to basket
Killing Thatcher
Added to basket
£10.99   £9.49
Paperback
Keir Starmer
Added to basket
£25.00   £19.99
Hardback
Beyond the Wall
Added to basket
£12.99   £10.99
Paperback
Prisoners of Geography
Added to basket
Technofeudalism
Added to basket
£10.99   £9.49
Paperback
The Invisible Doctrine
Added to basket
£12.99   £10.99
Hardback
The Plot
Added to basket
£10.99   £8.99
Paperback
Great Britain?
Added to basket
£20.00   £17.99
Hardback
On Leadership
Added to basket
£25.00
Hardback
Nuclear War
Added to basket
£20.00   £17.99
Hardback
The Women Who Wouldn't Wheesht
Added to basket
Led By Donkeys
Added to basket
£18.99
Hardback
It's OK To Be Angry About Capitalism
Added to basket
The Great Post Office Scandal
Added to basket

Please sign in to write a review

Your review has been submitted successfully.

env: aptum
branch: