Date : 1997-July-01
Country : England (United Kingdom)
Hong Kong reverted to Chinese rule in a ceremony attended by British Prime Minister Tony Blair, Prince Charles of Wales, Chinese President Jiang Zemin, and the United States Secretary of State Madeleine Albright at midnight on 1st July 1997. Here, the formal authority over the territory of the then colony of Hong Kong was transferred from the United Kingdom to the People's Republic of China. This handover is domestically known as the transfer of sovereignty over Hong Kong.
Britain occupied Hong Kong, an inhabited island off the coast of southeast China. China ceded this island to the British with the signing of the Convention of Chuenpi in 1841. Except for four years of Japanese occupation from 1941 to 1945, Hong Kong had been a colony of the United Kingdom since 1841. The Treaty of Nanking was signed to end the First Opium War in 1842. After the First Opium War, its territory was expanded on two occasions. These occasions were the addition of Kowloon Peninsula and Stonecutters Island in 1860, and the British Empire obtained a 99-year lease for the New Territories in 1898. In 1997, the Hong Kong handover date marked this lease's end.
This incident ended 156 years of British rule in the colony of Hong Kong. Hong Kong was established as a special administrative region of China for the next 50 years. As per the 1984 Sino-British Joint Declaration, China agreed to govern existing structures of government and economy under the principle of "one country, two systems" for 50 years. This Declaration included the conditions under which Hong Kong was to be transferred.
Hong Kong became the first special administrative region of China. But Hong Kong retained certain freedoms, including an independent judiciary, multiple political parties, and freedom of assembly and speech. Hong Kong has its own mini-constitution. Hong Kong was one of the last significant colonial territories of the United Kingdom. Its handover marked the end of British colonial prestige in the Asia-Pacific region. However, in 2019, Hong Kong had massive pro-democracy protests over growing oppression from mainland China.
Category : Politics