PASSINGS: Sir Percy Cradock, Sam Match

Sir Percy Cradock

British diplomat

Sir Percy Cradock, 86, the British diplomat who negotiated the terms for returning Hong Kong to Chinese rule, died Jan. 22 after a brief illness, his family announced in London.

Cradock was first posted to Hong Kong in 1961, then moved to Beijing the following year. After a stint in London, he was posted to Beijing again from 1966 to 1969 and was taken prisoner when the embassy was besieged by a mob during the Cultural Revolution.

He returned to Beijing as ambassador in 1978 as Britain began to deal with the looming return of most of the territory of the Hong Kong colony in 1997.

China had ceded the island of Hong Kong in perpetuity in the 19th century, but Britain held only a 99-year lease on the New Territories, which represented 92% of the colony’s land area. Given China’s overwhelming military advantage and Hong Kong’s dependence on China for food and water, Cradock said “Britain had virtually no cards” to play in negotiations.

Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher put Cradock in charge of negotiations on Hong Kong in 1983 and then appointing him as her security advisor the next year. In 1984, Britain and China agreed on a “one-nation, two-systems” approach that preserved aspects of Hong Kong’s democratic and economic freedoms for 50 years.

Cradock retired from government in 1992.

Sam Match

Leading amateur tennis player

Sam Match, 87, a top-ranked amateur tennis player for decades, died Jan. 23 at a Redondo Beach hospice from age-related causes, said his daughter, Leslie Goldstein.

Match, who was born in Los Angeles on Jan. 3, 1923, never had a formal tennis lesson but enjoyed a lengthy career.

He was the state junior champion at age 18, won the NCAA doubles championship with Rice University in 1947 and reached the finals in singles and doubles in 1949 after transferring to the University of San Francisco.

Match is a member of the halls of fame at both universities and was inducted in 2000 into the Southern California Jewish Hall of Fame.

He competed at Wimbledon, reaching the senior doubles final in 1968. Playing with tennis great Bobby Riggs, Match won the national hard-court doubles championship in 1970.

He also worked as a teaching pro, loan officer and stockbroker.

-- times staff and wire reports