1 July 1997 marked the end of British rule of Hong Kong, whereby this territory was passed into the hands of the People s Republic of China. In 1992, Chris Patten, former chairman of the Conservative Party, was appointed Hong Kong's last governor, and was the man to oversee the handover ceremony of this former British colony. Within the last five years of British rule, acclaimed journalist Jonathan Dimbleby was given unique access to the governor which enabled him to document the twists and turns of such an extraordinary diplomatic, political and personal drama. As Governor, Patten encouraged the necessary expansion of Hong Kong's social welfare system, striving to reconcile the basic rights and freedom of over 6 million people with the unpredictable imperatives of Beijing. Drawing on the insights of a host of senior figures, the author places the crisis in both its human and historical contexts, and presents some startling arguments about the conduct of British foreign policy on Hong Kong before and during Patten's tenure.
Jonathan Dimbleby is an historian and broadcaster, a political commentator and a writer. He also acts as president of Voluntary Service Overseas (VSO), Vice-President and past President of the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE), president of the South Hams Society and is a trustee of Dimbleby Cancer Care.