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tv   HAR Dtalk  BBC News  July 1, 2022 4:30am-5:01am BST

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this is bbc news, the headlines: the chinese president, xijinping, has sworn in hong kong's new leader, john lee. the territory is marking 25 years since the handover from british colonial rule. mr lee is taking over from carrie lam, whose time in office saw beijing tighten its grip on hong kong. the us supreme court has dealt a serious blow to president biden�*s plans to tackle climate change. it's issued a ruling that limits the government's ability to regulate emissions from power plants. the case was brought on behalf of nineteen mostly republican— led states. nato leaders have pledged more financial aid and weapons for ukraine. the alliance also renewed
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calls for president putin to end the invasion. nato�*s secretary general, jens stoltenberg, insisted that ukraine must prevail as an independent state. now on bbc news, it's hardtalk. welcome to hardtalk. i'm sarah montague. when the uk handed hong kong back to china 25 years ago, the last words of the departing british governor to the people of the territory were, "now hong kong people are to run hong kong. "that is the promise, and that is the unshakeable destiny." the man who said those words, chris patten, now lord patten, is my guest today. has that promise been broken? and could the uk have done more to honour it?
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lord patten, welcome to hardtalk. thank you. has that promise, that hong kong would be run by hong kong people, been broken? yes. and it was based on the perhaps misguided assumption, which some of us had occasional doubts about, that the chinese were... the chinese communist party, let me make a distinction, would keep their word, and they have pretty comprehensively broken their word, which is contained in an international treaty lodged at the united nations called thejoint declaration. you said at the time, you wrote at the time in the hong kong diaries,
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which you've just published, that, "ultimately, after the handover, "much will depend on whether the chinese communist party "can actually be trusted "to honour one country, two systems," which was the deal agreed. hong kong's former chief executive, cy leung, who's now vice—chairman of china's top political advisory body, said just days ago that hong kong's democracy is following the basic law and the principle that you agreed of one country, two systems. you're smiling. well, cy leung is, as the polls seem to suggest when people are asked in hong kong about it, is a pretty dubious piece of work, and whether or not he was a member of the communist party when i was governor is a matter of dispute. but he's certainly always been a supporter of whatever the communist leadership says. so you take anything he says, not just with a warehouse full of salt, but with a container fleet of salt. the...
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it is true that the chinese have... ..have produced their version of democracy. but as one chinese supporter said to me on one occasion, said to the house of commons foreign affairs select committee, "it's not that the chinese," he said, "are against democracy. "we just like to know the result in advance." and what they've been very keen on doing is installing a system of elections, which means that you can vote for anybody that they will support. so at the moment, anybody who actually believes in democracy doesn't get a look—in. the only people who'll get elected by a rather small chosen group of people are those who will do what they're told. well, let's turn to the most recent elections in december of last year. candidates had to be vetted, as you say. there was a cut in the number of directly elected representatives.
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there was a boycott by many people. turnout was just 30%. and by one analysis, 82 of the 90 seats were won by members pro—establishment, pro—beijing camp. given that you said 25 years ago, on leaving hong kong, "britain has provided the scaffolding that enabled "the people of hong kong to ascend — the rule of law, "clean and light—handed government. the way you're talking now — did you expect this? did you fear this? well, in my gloomiest moments, and i tend to the glass half—empty school of looking at things, in my gloomiest moments, i thought that there was a possibility that it would all go wrong. i never thought that there would be a sort of tiananmen square in hong kong. i thought that that wouldn't happen, that there wouldn't be a tank man in hong kong. but i did always rather question the point that was made endlessly by my biggest critic, who was a former british ambassador in china called percy cradock, and he'd been very close to margaret thatcher. it was very much driven by him when thejoint declaration
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was agreed, and when people were arguing that there should be an arbitration mechanism in it, he said, "no, no, no." and his argument was this. he said, and he had reason for realising this because he'd been in the british embassy when it was burnt down during the cultural revolution, he said, "the chinese leaders may be thuggish dictators, "but they're men of their word." now, we know that part of that is true — the first bit, but the second part isn't. and you can look at things all round the world, examples of the chinese simply breaking international agreements. president obama said it about them in relation to the wto. they've done it in relation to the fortification of atolls and islands in the south china sea. and they've comprehensively broken their word over the joint declaration. but then many people listening to this will think, look, that there's an element of double standards here because the uk held the territory for decades, and as cy leung pointed out
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just recently, reminding the british government, it never gave hong kong democracy. all the way, as he said, all the way until the last day of british rule in hong kong, the british government never gave the territory democracy. well, let me just unpick that for a moment. and the idea that cy leung should be regretting that is for the birds. i mean, he was always opposed. i know, but... is the uk in a position to criticise? yes. and i'll tell you why. hong kong was different from any other colony. we weren't in a position where we were preparing it for independence because part of it was held on a lease and it was always being returned to china. and when, in the �*50s and �*60s, occasionally, british governments used to talk about a faster pace of democratisation in hong kong, the chinese, including chairman lai, on one occasion, said, "you can't do that. "if you do that, people in hong kong will get "the impression they're being prepared for independence, "and they�* re not. "they're coming back
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to the motherland." in the 1980s, however, partly because of the joint declaration and partly because people said, "well, if there isn't going to be "an arbitration mechanism, "we better do something about democracy," we did start to pick up the pace of democratisation and the number of directly elected seats was increased. it is true that when i was rubbished and lambasted as a...as a sinnerfor 1,000 generations, for somebody who'd done nameless things with president clinton — i never quite understood that one. when i was being lambasted for allegedly producing democracy, the democracy i produced was pretty limited, because it was constrained by the joint declaration and the basic law. what i tried to do was to make the existing elections as fair and reasonable as possible. and i got rid of the...of the junked... ijunked many of the... ..the arrangements for the functional constituencies
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which were sort of rotten pocket boroughs, and increased by about two million the number of people who could vote in them. so, it was limited. but i think what most annoyed the chinese wasn't that i'd made the elections a bit fairer, but that i'd actually consulted people in china before doing it... in hong kong before doing it. because they thought that any agreement, anything done in hong kong should be agreed between the sovereign powers, between britain and china. and they thought it was nothing to do with hongkongers. but i insisted, for reasons we can discuss if you like later, that it should be discussed first of all with people in hong kong and they should know what was going to happen. indeed. but you're saying you were tied, that the uk could not have introduced democracy at the scale and at the timing that it wanted to. there is still a charge about the way it left hong kong, and on this question of double standards, because there's another double standard, which is over the way
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the west describes protests. and it's flagged up by regina ip, who's a hong kong executive council member. she is indeed. she's chair of the pro—beijing new people's party. she said this week, and she was drawing a comparison between protests in hong kong and the attack on the us capitol earlier this... ..onjanuary 6, where she said, "western media and politicians "called the capitol attack an insurrection, "but talk of hong kong riots as a fight for freedom "and a beautiful sight. " now she sees the national security law as restoring order, peace and security. it is a different perspective. it's a different... it is true that whenever we do something like the appalling events onjanuary 6 in washington, the chinese will take that as an example of double standards in western democracies, and they're not entirely wrong to say that. i think the main weakness in developing our arguments with totalitarian states everywhere — and make no mistake, china is a totalitarian state —
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when we as democracies don't behave as we should, that is something they can score on. but — butjust remember what the demonstrations in 2019 were about. they were against an extradition treaty which would have enabled china, er, hong kong to send anybody it didn't like up to china to be tried. and when people objected to that, people like regina ip said, "well, it will mean that from now on, "china doesn't have to abduct people from hong kong." two million people... two million people were on the streets. two million people. and they weren't dealt with by discussion. they were dealt with with tear gas and bullet — plastic bullet rounds and tasers. so, is all the blame with china? when you look back at what the uk could and should have done, should it have done more? oh, look, we're talking about 25, 30, 35 years ago. do i think it should have done more? yes, i do.
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we did a great deal to underpin the rule of law. we did a great deal to strengthen protection of the bill of rights. it is true, as the greatest expert on different forms of government has argued, a great american political scientist, that hong kong — and he was writing then in the �*80s and early �*90s — hong kong was the only society you could think of which was liberal, with the rule of law, but didn't have complete democracy. that's absolutely true. i wasn't elected. i was appointed. but i was appointed to serve people in hong kong, not to serve london or to serve beijing. right. but what we've seen in hong kong has led to more people of hong kong coming to the uk. and there was a new programme introduced at the start of 2021. yeah. the uk expects... 100,000 have applied through that and been granted visas. the uk expects 300,000 to 500,000 of a possible five million people who could be eligible. it's not five million, but you're making a reasonable point.
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what sort of numbers would you expect are going to come here as a result of what we're seeing in hong kong? i would think it's probably nearer 300,000, but i don't know. what is true is most of the ones who've come so far have been in professional classes. they've been teachers, they've been doctors, they've been medics. i went to my old school the other day and the newest physic...er, chemistry teacher was from hong kong. it's a brain drain. it is a brain drain, and it's not only a brain drain, but it's people who loved hong kong, but can't bear the thought of bringing up their children... i was with lots of them last night. they were getting me to sign my book for them. right. they hate the idea of what they've always regarded as a free and open society suddenly being one in which, as a recent panorama by the bbc was pointing out, stops free speech, arrests people and always has looming over them the prospect of them being incarcerated. now, in everything you have written about your time
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in hong kong and the handover, and in these diaries, you suggest that the british government and british business were too subservient to china. you suggested that that was counterproductive. i mean, presumably, given what we are hearing from nato now — they've just released a statement saying china's "stated ambitions and coercive policies challenge our "interests, securities and values." are you pleased to hear that kind of much more punchy statement coming from them? yeah. look, look, i have never believed in containing china, but i do believe that we should constrain china and point up its bad behaviour when it happens. and there was a... there's a great and famous... long telegram, it's called, by george kennan about the soviet union in 1946, in which he said that we should recognise that their view, ie, the russian — their view of reality and ours are incompatible, and it's true with china. trade in body parts,
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forced abortions. look at what's happening in xinjiang, look at what's happening in hong kong, look at what's happening in tibet. the last imperial power in the world is china in xinjiang and tibet and hong kong. ok, so where does this lead? because at the same time as we're hearing this statement from nato, we have the likes of the us treasurer, former us treasury secretary janet yellen talking about "friend—shoring", advising companies to ensure that their supply chains are in friendly countries so that they are more resilient. that idea of...what is a retreat of globalisation. well, it's certainly a retreat of globalisation if the price for globalisation is having to kowtow to china. take one example. the bullying by china. january 2020, the chinese foreign minister is in australia and he's asked about the strange outbreak of disease in wuhan,
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and he says it's containable, it's curable — no problem. at the same time, the chinese government were buying, hand overfist, ppe equipment in australia and elsewhere — here. so, not surprisingly, the australians say there should be a proper who inquiry because under the who international health regulations, the chinese had agreed article 6 that... 0k. as with others... hold on, hold on. that any epidemic disease should be reported in a timely way within 2a hours to the who. so the australians asked for an inquiry, so the chinese then blocked their exports. but where does this head? iwant... because if you have a world where supply chains are being separated across the world, you have nato talking so forcefully about china, is that world, where you have countries pulling apart, is it a safer world? it's a safer world if it stops, if it constrains bad behaviour by totalitarian states. look... but do you think it will? it's a feeble...
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do you think it will? erm, i'm not sure, but i tell you what, i'll tell you what is true. it's no argument for... of statecraft. it's no argument for putting the national interest first to close your eyes when wicked things are happening. ok, but when you look at where we are, because you... in this situation, i wonder what it means for taiwan, because taiwan... china's president has said, xijinping has told taiwan that it must recognise "that it must and will be reunited with china" and he warned that military force "is not out of the question." do you think china plans to invade taiwan? i didn't used to, and i don't necessarily think so now, but i think it's a more difficult question to answer. i think what's happened in ukraine, where china is, of course, an accomplice, i think what's happened
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in ukraine might have added to the second or third thoughts which any sensible chinese leader, sensible chinese leader should harbour about taiwan. but taiwan is 100 kilometres or miles from the chinese coast. it has very few landing beaches, it has high mountains, and the chinese would be mad to do it. it would wreck their economy, which is already in a very fragile state, and it would also destroy any power to influence people that they have left in the world, so i think it would be a disasterfor them. you called china an accomplice in ukraine. yes. what did you mean? what i mean is that it's undoubtedly the case that putin told xi what he was going to do during the winter olympics. the chinese have looked the other way, even though... but not resupplied arms to russia. well, we don't know about that, and we we're not sure how much help they've given in the cybersecurity area. and we also know perfectly well that china should know
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what is happening in huawei... er, in ukraine, because huawei is all over ukraine, and ukraine was one of the belt and road initiatives. all that belt and roads investiture would have been destroyed by russian artillery fire now. when the uk foreign secretary, liz truss, told mps on the uk foreign affairs select committee, "we should be sending arms to taiwan. "we need to learn the lesson from ukraine. "every piece of equipment we've sent takes months of training, "so the sooner we do it, the better." is she right? now, i heard peter ricketts, who knows more about these things than i do, about weapons and so on. this is lord ricketts, who's a former nato ambassador. exactly, ambassador and a national security adviser, and much else besides, who used to be my backstop in hong kong, in the foreign office and is terrific, i heard him talking about that, and i think he made the reasonable point that we haven't exactly got an excess of weapons
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and that our priorities should be in europe and dealing with ukraine and helping there. we don't have, i think, an excess of the sort of weapons that would be needed, but certainly, certainly we should try to involve without compromising the strategic ambiguity of taiwan, we should certainly insist on them being involved in things like the world health organization council, to bring them in to things rather than shut them out just because china wants to go on bullying them. prior to being governor of hong kong, you were a conservative party chairman. you have said recently that it would be a disasterfor the uk if borisjohnson wins the general election. why? well, nobody, ithink, has ever thought of me as a... ..as a strong supporter of borisjohnson. i hope a sensible conservative party wins the next election, but, like previous leaders
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of the conservative party, like william hague, like the former home secretary, like others, i think his time is up. if he is still prime minister at the next election, will you vote conservative? i can't vote in elections because i'm a peer. would you if you could? i've made a lifetime�*s choice never to ask hypothetical questions, but i would... i would vote for a conservative candidate if there was a good one in my constituency. your successor as conservative party chair, 0liver dowden, resigned recently after the party lost two by—elections, and he said, "we can't carry on business as usual — "somebody must take responsibility. "i've concluded it would not be right "for me to remain in office." there are others, like former tory, conservative party leader michael howard, saying members of the cabinet "should carefully consider their positions." yeah, i think michael howard is absolutely right. that's what i said, that he and
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william hague had both... had both made much the same point. do you want cabinet members to move against borisjohnson? what i would like them to do is to stop parroting on the today programme or world at one or whatever, ridiculous arguments about the distinction between a party and a gathering, and whatever is the number 10 line. i mean, ijust think it's demeaning for them to go on doing that, and then they should, every cabinet minister... and this is because of what we understand happened in number 10. yeah. throughout the pandemic, when rules were broken. i mean, cabinet ministers, of course, want to pursue their own careers, but they should also take account of the national interest. and, what? you think it's in the national interest for one of the current cabinet members to move against the prime minister? i think it would be in the national interest for cabinet ministers to tell us very seriously why they think it's in the national interest for boris johnson not to move on and reoccupy his place as a distinguished sunday telegraph and telegraph columnist.
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and if no cabinet minister does that, do you think that the 1922 committee, which represents the party's backbench members, should change the rules to allow another vote of confidence? afterall, borisjohnson, the prime minister, won one recently. probably not, but i'm less certain about that, because it starts to look, if you change the rules every time you don't get the result you want, it starts to look a bit dodgy. the fact is that 40% or so of conservative mps voted for a change, and if you take out the ones who are already ministers, it's a much higher percentage than that. so a lot of party leaders would, i think, regard that as a less than ringing endorsement of what they were trying to do. so i think i've made one or two comments about mrjohnson in my diaries, and i'm not going to lie now and think he's ideal — far from it. what i do worry about...
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is there any obvious alternative? oh, there are... i could think of quite a few, but i don't want to ruin their chances by saying who i think would do it perfectly well. what i do think is when it comes to the referendum campaign on scotland, which apparently we're going to have sooner rather than later, it's terribly important for conservatives and labour and liberal democrats to be on the same side and arguing for the union, so you've got to think of the sort of politicians who could do that convincingly and would be happy to work with others. and, what, you don't think borisjohnson could make the case in scotland for staying in the united kingdom? i think it's very difficult to see how he could do it. you look back at some of the politicians who've previously argued passionately against scottish independence, likejohn major, like tony blair, and they would work, whatever their political differences, perfectly well together, but it's quite difficult to see that happening with mrjohnson. lord patten, thank you for coming on hardtalk. thank you.
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hello again. well, thursday was a day of sunshine and showers but the day's showers were a lot bigger, there were loads more thunderstorms around than we've seen over the past few days and whenever you see big clouds tearing upwards through the skies like these, well, you know someone�*s getting soaked. someone lived in south newington as those heavy downpours came through here. really hefty shower. now, the showers and thunderstorms that developed through the day have actually kept going for the first part of the night as well and they have tended to migrate towards the pennines, north east england and will generally begin to fade away over the next few hours. but at the same time,
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we'll probably see some rain just spinning its way across the north sea, grazing north east scotland over the next few hours. here are your morning temperatures. now, for friday itself, we've got low pressure in charge. it's a day of sunshine and showers, broadly speaking. however, we will see another low bringing some more general rain into northern ireland as we go through the afternoon. here's the forecast for wimbledon. the computer reckons it's dry. well, you might be lucky, i suppose, but i'd go for a chance of a shower, to be honest. the showers are going to be quite widespread. they'll get going through the morning and, come the afternoon, some of them will turn heavy and thundery. the greatest chance of seeing those heavier showers will be across eastern areas of scotland and down the eastern side of england, down to about norfolk, i suspect. temperatures similar to recent days — high teens across western areas, low 20s in the east. feeling warm in the sunshine with a bit more of a breeze around on friday compared with the last couple of days. the weekend sees further weather fronts diving eastwards across the uk and so
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on saturday, we start off with this weak weather front. a band of rain pushing eastwards across england and wales. what follows is, yeah, sunshine and showers again. some of them heavy, particularly across north—western areas this time. it's here where we've got the greatest chance of seeing some thunder. and those temperatures not really changing a great deal — low 20s in the east but generally, for most of us, we're looking at temperatures into the high teens. now, pressure starts to gradually rise from the south—west as we go through sunday, so probably dry for wales, good part of western england and probably the midlands, too. a few showers elsewhere, notably across scotland and northern ireland, and temperatures, well, they haven't changed very much, have they? pressure will rise more generally into next week, so more of us will enjoy drier weather, a bit more sunshine and it will start to get a bit warmer as well.
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this is bbc news with the latest headlines for viewers in the uk and around the world. chinese president xijinping has sworn in hong kong's new leader at a ceremony marking 25 years since the end of british colonial rule. commentator: the practice of one country, two systems have achieved the success in hong kong recognised by all since his return to the motherland. president biden vows to press ahead with cutting greenhouse gas emissions despite key defeat in the supreme court. more travel misery for passengers as easyjet and ryanair crews in spain walk out over pay and conditions.

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