After leaving his post at Hong Kong's last governor, Chris Patten was later invited to address the Central Party School in Beijing, an honor that never was accorded to all 3 of his successors: CH Tung, Sir Donald Tsang and C.Y. Leung. He was also the first western to have been invited to do, he thought. That school is where future leaders prep for bigger jobs ahead.
A long line of future party leaders, after hearing him, lined up to get his autograph for his book, "East and West" penned in 1998, translated and widely available in China, a year after he was labeled by BJ media as "criminal of a thousand years" and a "whore". And then he was a welcome and honored guest at the sanctum sanctorum of the Chinese Communist Party.
One thing Hong Kong's "patriotic" political allies seldom learned: Chinese politics or polemics is seldom what it may appear on the surface. These days party loyalists like C.Y. Leung are viewed somewhere between poison and leftover food, tolerated for their party loyalty, but dismissed as largely irrelevant to the thinking of the modern party ruling elite in China mostly with blue-chip western education with degrees from the Harvards and the Oxfords in the West. The ruling elite in BJ has more in common with its counterparts in the US and the UK with similar education and economic backgrounds than C.Y. Leung. Anyone who still thinks Chris Patten is despised as a "hypocrite" is well advised to familiarize herself with the history of the Communist Party and its dealings with the West and not just Beijing's flamboyant polemics.
Sin-ming Shaw, a former fellow at Oxford University, was, most recently, a visiting scholar at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor.