Union Jack-waving fans greet Hong Kong's last governor

21st March 2014, Comments 0 comments

Hong Kong's last colonial governor Chris Patten got a hero's welcome to the city from emotional fans waving Union Jack flags and playing the British national anthem.

Patten won widespread admiration from people in Hong Kong for his populist touch during his 1992-97 term, in contrast to his career diplomat predecessors who were seldom seen in public.

He also earned the wrath of Beijing for pushing democratic reforms to Hong Kong's electoral system before the handover in 1997.

Dozens of fans mobbed Patten as he left a function in Hong Kong late Thursday, video footage posted on YouTube showed.

"We need you," they shouted repeatedly as they scrambled towards Patten who waved and smiled as he made his way to a car with "God Save the Queen" playing in the background, footage from Delight Media Hong Kong showed.

Others pleaded for Patten to return to the city.

"Despite the noise and chaos, I think governor Patten was truly moved by our enthusiasm. He should know how desperate we are after more than 10 years of PRC rule,"?Hong Kong-based Ming Ming Cheung commented on the video on Friday.

"I really miss Patten, he is truly the leader of the Hong Kong people" Conny Lam commented.

The Union Jack and Hong Kong colonial flag have become unlikely symbols of protest over the slow pace of progress towards full democracy.

The unpopular government is grappling with how the city's future leaders will be chosen under long-awaited political reforms.

Patten said in November last year that anyone who resists the right for Hong Kong citizens to elect their own government is "spitting in the wind", drawing rebukes from Chinese authorities.

Patten was in Hong Kong to deliver the Selden Map of China, the earliest map of shipping routes between China and Asia, on loan from the University of Oxford, where he is chancellor.

© 2014 AFP

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