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Chris Patten

Christopher Francis Patten was a prominent British Conservative politician in the early 1990s.

Educated in St Benedict's School, Ealing, and Balliol College, Oxford, he had worked in the Conservative Party since 1966, starting in its research department. He was a member of the British House of Commons from 1979 to 1992, and Chairman of the Conservative Party from 1990 until 1992 before losing his seat for Bath at the 1992 UK general election. Later he became the last Governor General of Hong Kong until its handover to Chinese rule in 1997. He was given an official Chinese name (彭定康) for his governorship.

Chris Patten was the only professional politican taking the job as Hong Kong Governor. Unlike previous Hong Kong Governors, he refused to be knighted--he was not willing to give up his political career. During his governorship, he extended the definition of function constituencies and thus virtually every Hongkonger was able to vote for the so-called indirectly elected members (see Politics of Hong Kong). His measure was stongly objected and he himself was orally insulted by the Chinese government. The overreaction of Chinese goverment indeed rised the popularity of Chris Patten to a level he never enjoyed outside England.

As of March 2003, he is one of 20 European Commissioners and has responsibility for External Relations. He is also the chancellor for the universities of Newcastle and Oxford.

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