East and West by Christopher Patten
China, Power, and the Future of Asia

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How will Asia--its vast population, its swirling politics, its recently challenged economics--change our world?

Few Western political figures can answer that question as well as Christopher Patten.  For five years, Patten was the governor of Hong Kong, and as China prepared to reclaim its people and its land, he struggled to put in place democratic institutions that would ensure Hong Kong's continued vitality.

In East and West, Patten draws on those struggles to give us an intimate portrait of the real Asia, in all its diversity, and to make a vital argument for the common interest of Eastern and Western powers.  The result is a startling departure from the conventional wisdom about China, power, and the future of Asia.

Starting from his own experience as governor, his attempt to introduce democracy to Hong Kong, and his often difficult relationship with both Chinese and Western business and political interests, Patten addresses some of the most vital, and often confused, issues of the coming century.

Patten dismisses talk of a monolithic "Asian value system"--in the East as well as the West--as a self-serving excuse for authoritarianism.  While tumbling currencies have silenced talk of "the Asian economic miracle," scholars and politicians still make a living touting Asian exceptionalism, many suggesting that what works for the West cannot work for the East.  But Patten argues that it already has.  What took place in Asia in the last thirty years, he says, was similar to the industrialization of Europe and the United States, only much faster.

Ultimately, Patten argues that free markets and free politics sustain each other.  In the East and in the West, political liberty and economic freedom march together.  "I believe a process has likely begun which is irreversible," Patten writes, "and which will ensure that the next century belongs not to Asia or America or any other continent, but to those values which best combine decency and a good life.  A hundred years ago, A. E Housman's 'steady drummer' best a warning of death and misery to come.  Today, on the threshold of another century, the omens seem better.  Eastward as well as westward, the land is bright."

About Christopher Patten

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Christopher Patten was a Conservative member of Parliament in Britain until 1992.  He held a number of senior posts, including Minister of Overseas Development, Environmental Secretary, and chairman of the Conservative Party during its successful 1992 campaign.  He was appointed governor of Hong Kong in the same year and held that post until the handover of the colony to China in 1997.  Patten is at present chairing the Commission on the Policing of Northern Ireland following the peace agreement there.  He lives in London with his wife, a lawyer.  They have three daughters.
Published September 14, 1998 by Times Books. 304 pages
Genres: Political & Social Sciences, Business & Economics, History, Travel. Non-fiction

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This was bitterly opposed by the Chinese government and by businessmen in Hong Kong and elsewhere who wanted to ingratiate themselves with the Chinese, as well as by the old Sinologists of the British Foreign Office, who argued that the Chinese didn’t want democracy or that Hong Kong was —just a ...

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Publishers Weekly

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Asia-watchers can't afford to miss Patten's trenchant book, which is part memoir, part political treatise and part rattling secular sermon.

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