Testing Times

Tough rhetoric and an atomic blast underline worsening ties between Beijing and the West

AS MEMBERS OF HONG KONG'S LEGISlative Council sat in silence, Governor Christopher Patten unleashed a sharp-tongued salvo against Beijing last week -- a measure of his frustration with the intransigent mainland government. Declaring that Britain and China had only "weeks rather than months" to map out something resembling a democratic future for the colony, Patten threatened to push ahead unilaterally with political reform, specifically his effort to broaden, however modestly, Hong Kong's electoral base, a program that has drawn Beijing's unrelenting ire. In urging the legislators to fight for reform, Patten asked, "If we are not prepared to stand up for...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now

Subscribe
Subscribe

Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on TIME.com

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!