Orkney and Shetland MP, Alistair Carmichael, this week hosted the inaugural Paddy Ashdown memorial lecture in partnership with Hong Kong Watch. Held at Westminster Central Hall on Monday evening, the event saw Mr. Carmichael introduce a lecture by former Governor of Hong Kong, Chris Patten. In his speech Patten proposed that an independent inquiry, reform of public order legislation and political reforms should all form part of a road map towards the reconciliation of Hong Kong’s society.
Speaking at the event, Mr. Carmichael said:
“Paddy Ashdown was one of the first politicians in this country to recognise the difficulties inherent in the position of Hong Kong and was a stalwart champion of the rights of Hongkongers. For Paddy it was both a personal interest in East Asia and also a political one, as someone who instinctively railed against injustice.”
In his speech, Chris Patten said:
“The outcome [in Hong Kong] is important not just to the city and to its old and present sovereigns; it is squarely in the cross-hairs of questions about the role of China in the century ahead and the relationship between authoritarian bullying and liberal democracy, between socialist totalitarianism and western open societies living under the rule of law.”
Speaking after the event, Mr. Carmichael said:
“Paddy Ashdown was a force for good not only in UK politics but in support of liberal democracy and human rights around the world. He saw the potential for increasing suppression of Hongkonger freedoms by the Chinese Government, and the need to hold both the UK and China to account on their obligations to Hong Kong under the Joint Declaration. It is high time our own Government took Paddy’s lessons to heart.”