Sir, - It is very difficult to have any sympathy for Mr Chris Patton's "democratic reforms" in Hong Kong. Just as Home Rule was resisted to the bitter end in Ireland, so also were any concessions to Chinese citizens in this Crown colony. Hong Kong was taken from China during the Opium Wars, when England insisted in paying for Chinese exports with opium exported from India, its other colony in the Far East.

As another Irish writer has pointed out, China for all its failures succeeds in feeding almost one quarter of the world's population every day. China is also aware that the world's resources are limited and is taking some decisions which the rest of us would prefer not to think about.

Meanwhile, the West's commodity exporters look eagerly at this huge market and can hardly wait to give them 400 million cars, 800 million TV sets etc etc along with all the oil, artificial fertilizers, pesticides, chemicals and weapons needed to have a Western standard of dying. Somehow I think China can do without any lectures from us. - Yours, etc.,


Tralee, Co Kerry.