Leo F. Goodstadt, who served as adviser to Chris Pattern, the last British-appointed governor of Hong Kong before the handover, and chief adviser for the Central Policy Unit of the colonial government back then, gave several interviews to the local press recently to express “personal views” on such contentious issues as the elections of the Chief Executive (CE) and Legislative Council (LegCo) by universal suffrage and the much-hyped “Occupy (Paralyze) Central” campaign the opposition plans to launch. In an interview with Apple Daily published on Wednesday he began by saying protest rallies in Hong Kong are not radical enough: “The so-called radical protests in Hong Kong are child’s play compared with international standards.” He added that it is normal for protesters to “paralyze Central” because “it is part of their right to protest” and Hong Kong residents already had the right to criticize the government through protests when the city was under British rule. As for worries that “Occupy Central” will hurt Hong Kong’s international financial center status, Goodstadt dismissed the notion as unnecessary, saying there are frequent mass protests in New York and London, the two leading international financial centers, but have yet to affect the business environment there. He was practically telling Hong Kong residents to go ahead with “Occupy Central” and not worry about the consequence.
It could not have been coincidence that Goodstadt made those comments when the opposition camp in Hong Kong was rearing to “Occupy Central”. Apparently he is here to give the opposition pointers on what to do next and let the world know foreign forces are definitely playing a part in it. Truth is his background is anything but simple. In 1962 he won a British government sponsored full scholarship to pursue “academic study” in Hong Kong and later joined Far Eastern Economic Review afterwards. In 1988 he was recruited by then governor David Wilson as an adviser to the Central Policy Unit. He remained a key figure in the colonial administration after Pattern succeeded Wilson as governor. And he earned the nickname “Demonic Monk” for being very good at hiding his skills and helping Pattern deal with the relentless press as well as his political enemies. But, theses are only his public roles.
According to press reports, Goodstadt, like the last chief secretary of the colonial government in Hong Kong David Robert Ford, is a senior officer of the British top spy agency Secret Intelligence Service, also known as MI6, which is responsible for overseas intelligence operations and a household name for spying excellence around the world, including recruiting operatives and directing intelligence-gathering activities outside Britain. The British Crown sent two of its best spies — Ford and Goodstadt — to work in Hong Kong during the last days of the colonial rule in order to place some “sleepers” in the city, including leading figures of the opposition camp after the handover. That is why Ford only worked as a university professor in Ireland briefly before returning to Hong Kong to serve as an adviser; while Goodstadt was also back with the title of a corporate adviser. The only conceivable reason for them to remain in Hong Kong is that the British government needs them to organize and lead local opposition with the intention of cooperating with other foreign forces in achieving their strategic objective.
Over the years, every time Ford and Goodstadt made public statements regarding the political situation in Hong Kong, some major incident took place soon afterwards. Before the July 1 mass protest rally in 2003, Ford and Goodstadt, along with John Shannon, former assistant political adviser to Pattern and now a member of the opposition Civic Party, showed up in Hong Kong at the same time, apparently to plan, command and provide assistance to the campaign. They were also seen in Hong Kong around the time when opposition lawmakers blocked the constitutional reform plan in 2005; when former chief secretary for administration Anson Chan first declined but then agreed to join the LegCo by-election in 2007; and when five opposition lawmakers resigned in 2009 to force by-elections they labeled as “referendum”. While here they not only talked to the press in public but also held secret meetings with key opposition figures. The most obvious example of this is Ford’s secret rendezvous with a number of opposition scholars and behind-the-curtain “bosses”, including Chung Ting-yiu, head of the Public Opinion Programme of the University of Hong Kong. In early December 2011 no sooner than Ford left Hong Kong, Chung announced the sensational plan to launch a “Civil Direct CE Election” platform, and he has become the bona fide ringmaster of the opposition’s opinion poll circus ever since. All these episodes illustrate the fact that Ford, Goodstadt and their fellow British secretary agents always come here on political missions aimed at re-organizing the opposition camp and meddling in Hong Kong politics as frontline foot soldiers of Western anti-China forces bent on containing China however they can.
The author is a current affairs commentator. This is an excerpted translation of his column published in Wen Wei Po on March 21.