Review Essay

The Asian Values Ballyhoo: Patten's Common Sense on Hong Kong and Beyond

In This Review

East and West: China, Power, and the Future of Asia

East and West: China, Power, and the Future of Asia
By Christopher Patten
Times Books, 1998, 307 pp. $25.00 Purchase

What are we to make of Asia today, with its "miracle" economies in nose dives? And what is to be the fate of now-sputtering Hong Kong, once a humming engine for regional economic growth? In his new book, Christopher Patten, the last British governor of Hong Kong, writes that he does not want "to contribute to the temporarily discontinued library of books puffing Asia. Tiger virtues, tiger values, tiger miracles, tiger futures have been so recklessly celebrated that we find ourselves, boom or bust, told that all the tigers are skinned and stuffed. What has happened in Asia has been remarkable; once exaggerated, it is now belittled." In a spirited but thoughtful way, Patten provides "some middle ground in this important debate about Asian development."

In 1992 Patten, a committed and liberal Tory politician, was given the challenge of guiding Hong Kong through the remaining five tense years before it reverted

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