Hong Kong's last colonial governor Chris Patten, has hit out at Beijing's treatment of the SAR, accusing the Chinese Communist Party of "destroying a great city" and slammed its treatment of critics.
He singled out Beijing over 73-year-old media tycoon Jimmy Lai, who's due to be brought before West Kowloon Court early on Saturday after being charged under the National Security Law with colluding with foreign forces.
Lai is already behind bars, having been denied bail earlier this month after being charged with fraud in relation to the lease of Next Digital's headquarters in Tseung Kwan O.
In an interview with the BBC, Patten said Hong Kong had been a great success story because of its balance between free speech, free media, free movement of capital and the rule of law.
Patten said the Chinese Communist Party was destroying most of those things. He said Beijing was "terrified" of the sort of free society that Hong Kong had been, and hated the values of open societies in the rest of the world.
And in going about the brutalisation of Hong Kong - putting Hong Kong in handcuffs - they've been particularly vengeful. They hate Jimmy Lai," said Patten, who's now the chancellor of Oxford University.
"Jimmy Lai is somebody who escaped from Communism in China, swam when he was a young man, when he was a boy to get to Hong Kong. He's been a tremendously successful businessman, and they closed down, first of all, his chain of shops in China, and now they've attacked him personally because he's been running a newspaper which speaks out in favour of freedom."
Patten again accused Beijing of not honouring its handover agreements governing the SAR.
"They've broken their word to Hong Kong and internationally and they're destroying a great city," he said.
China ‘handcuffs' HK; Chris Patten defends Jimmy Lai
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