* Does Tom Plate (Commentary, July 9) seriously believe that the gerontocrats who ran the Tiananmen massacre will so prize world opinion that they will allow free speech in Hong Kong, and nowhere else in China? And is he seriously suggesting that a newspaper in the U.S. that advocated returning California and Texas to Mexico would be shut down and the editor jailed?
* In your July 7 editorial you note that Hong Kong's previously free press is now under pressure to avoid criticism of China. More than a year ago, Larry Feign, a cartoonist who was brought up here in Orange County, was fired from his job at the South China Morning Post in Hong Kong for criticizing the Chinese regime. The newspaper, one of the most profitable in the world, claimed the firing was a cost-saving measure. Subsequent events proved that it was politically motivated.
Close to the anniversary of his firing, Feign was honored in Hong Kong by Amnesty International in its first annual Human Rights Press Awards. He was given first place in the English-language cartoon division for the cartoon that had cost him his job. He was also given the only award in the Chinese-language cartoon division. Although the event was noted in the South China Morning Post and some of the award winners were listed, no mention was made of the fact that their former cartoonist had won some of these awards.
* Chris Patten is the most able governor the British Empire has ever appointed to the colony. History tells us that when the British Empire granted independence to a colony, it would always like to make sure that a factor for contradiction was instilled among its subjects. The ongoing feud between India and Pakistan is a good example.
But the subjects in Hong Kong are homogeneously Chinese. It requires great ingenuity to come up with the idea of granting democracy, which had been strictly forbidden for the entire 150 years of occupation under the British rule, on the eve of Hong Kong's return to China. Patten surely deserves a Victoria Cross for that.