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Hong Kong was a colony and
dependent territory A dependent territory, dependent area, or dependency (sometimes referred as an external territory) is a territory that does not possess full political independence or sovereignty as a sovereign state, yet remains politically outside the control ...
of the
British Empire The British Empire was composed of the dominions, Crown colony, colonies, protectorates, League of Nations mandate, mandates, and other Dependent territory, territories ruled or administered by the United Kingdom and its predecessor states. ...

British Empire
from 1841 to 1997, apart from a brief period under
Japanese Japanese may refer to: * Something from or related to Japan , image_flag = Flag of Japan.svg , alt_flag = Centered deep red circle on a white rectangle , image_coat = Imperial Seal of J ...

Japanese
occupation from 1941 to 1945. The colonial period began with the occupation of
Hong Kong Island 250px, Kornhill and Shau Kei Wan, located in the northern part of Eastern District Hong Kong Island is an Islands and peninsulas of Hong Kong, island in the southern part of Hong Kong. It has a population of 1,289,500 and its population de ...

Hong Kong Island
in 1841 during the
First Opium War The First Opium War (), also known as the Opium War or the Anglo-Chinese War, was a series of military engagements fought between Britain and the Qing dynasty The Qing dynasty, officially the Great Qing (), was the last Dynasties in ...
. The island was ceded by the
Qing Empire The Qing dynasty, officially the Great Qing (), was the last dynasty A dynasty (, ) is a sequence of rulers from the same family,''Oxford English Dictionary'', "dynasty, ''n.''" Oxford University Press Oxford University Pr ...
in the aftermath of the war in 1842 and established as a
Crown colony A Crown colony or royal colony was a colony administered by The Crown within the British Empire. There was usually a Governor#United Kingdom overseas territories, Governor, appointed by the monarch of the UK on the advice of the ''Home'' (UK) Gov ...
in 1843. The colony expanded to the
Kowloon Peninsula The Kowloon Peninsula is a peninsula A peninsula ( la, paeninsula from ' "almost" and ' "island") is a landform surrounded by water on most of its border while being connected to a mainland from which it extends. The surrounding water is us ...

Kowloon Peninsula
in 1860 after the
Second Opium War The Second Opium War (), also known as the Second Anglo-Chinese War, the Second China War, the Arrow War, or the Anglo-French expedition to China, was a war War is an intense armed conflict between states, government A gov ...
and was further extended when the UK obtained a 99-year lease of the
New Territories The New Territories is one of the three main regions of Hong Kong Hong Kong (, ), officially the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People's Republic of China (HKSAR) (), is a metropolitan area and Special administrative re ...
in 1898. Although Hong Kong Island and Kowloon were ceded in perpetuity, the leased New Territories comprised the vast majority of the total area.
Britain Britain usually refers to: * United Kingdom, a sovereign state in Europe comprising the island of Great Britain, the north-eastern part of the island of Ireland and many smaller islands * Great Britain, the largest island in the United Kingdom * Ro ...
did not see any viable way to divide the colony, while the
People's Republic of China China (), officially the People's Republic of China (PRC; ), is a country in East Asia. It is the world's List of countries and dependencies by population, most populous country, with a Population of China, population of more than 1.4 billion ...

People's Republic of China
would not consider extending the lease or allowing British administration thereafter. With the signing of the
Sino-British Joint Declaration The Sino-British Joint Declaration is a joint statement by the United Kingdom The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly known as the United Kingdom (UK) or Britain,Usage is mixed. The Guardian' and Telegraph' ...
, which states that the social and economic systems in Hong Kong would remain unchanged for 50 years, the UK agreed to release the entire territory to China upon the expiration of the New Territories lease in 1997.


History


Colonial establishment

In 1836, the Manchu
Qing The Qing dynasty, officially the Great Qing (), was the last imperial dynasty A dynasty (, ) is a sequence of rulers from the same family,''Oxford English Dictionary'', "dynasty, ''n.''" Oxford University Press Oxford Univers ...

Qing
government undertook a major policy review of the opium trade, which had been first introduced to the Chinese by
Persian Persian may refer to: * People and things from Iran, historically called ''Persia'' in the English language ** Persians, Persian people, the majority ethnic group in Iran, not to be conflated with the Iranian peoples ** Persian language, an Iranian ...

Persian
then
Islamic Islam (; ar, اَلْإِسْلَامُ, al-’Islām, "submission o God Oh God may refer to: * An exclamation; similar to "oh no", "oh yes", "oh my", "aw goodness", "ah gosh", "ah gawd"; see interjection ''Oh, God!'' franchise * ''Oh, ...
traders over many centuries. Viceroy
Lin Zexu Lin Zexu (30 August 1785 – 22 November 1850), courtesy name A courtesy name (), also known as a style name, is a name bestowed upon one at adulthood in addition to one's given name. This practice is a tradition in the Sinosphere, including ...

Lin Zexu
took on the task of suppressing the opium trade. In March 1839, he became Special Imperial Commissioner in
Canton Canton may refer to: Administrative division terminology * Canton (administrative division), territorial/administrative division in some countries, notably Switzerland * Township (Canada), known as ''canton'' in Canadian French Arts and entert ...

Canton
, where he ordered the foreign traders to surrender their opium stock. He confined the British to the
Canton Factories The Thirteen Factories, also known as the , was a neighbourhood along the Pearl River (China), Pearl River in southwestern Guangzhou (Canton) in the Qing Empire from to 1856 around modern day Xiguan, in Guanzhou's Liwan District. These warehouses a ...

Canton Factories
and cut off their supplies. Chief Superintendent of Trade,
Charles Elliot Admiral Admiral is one of the highest ranks in some navy, navies, and in many navies is the highest rank. In the Commonwealth of Nations, Commonwealth nations and the United States, a "full" admiral is equivalent to a "full" general officer ...

Charles Elliot
, complied with Lin's demands to secure a safe exit for the British, with the costs involved to be resolved between the two governments. When Elliot promised that the British government would pay for their opium stock, the merchants surrendered their 20,283 chests of opium, which were destroyed in public. In September 1839, the
British Cabinet The Cabinet of the United Kingdom is a group of the most senior ministers of the crown in the government of the United Kingdom The Government of the United Kingdom, domestically referred to as Her Majesty's Government, is the central go ...
decided that the Chinese should be made to pay for the destruction of British property, either by the threat or use of force. An expeditionary force was placed under Elliot and his cousin, Rear-Admiral George Elliot, as joint
plenipotentiaries A ''plenipotentiary'' (from the Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. Through the p ...
in 1840. Foreign Secretary
Lord Palmerston Henry John Temple, 3rd Viscount Palmerston, (20 October 1784 – 18 October 1865) was a British statesman, who was twice Prime Minister of the United Kingdom in the mid-19th century. Palmerston dominated British foreign policy during the period ...

Lord Palmerston
stressed to the Chinese government that the British government did not question China's right to prohibit opium, but it objected to the way this was handled. He viewed the sudden strict enforcement as laying a trap for the foreign traders, and the confinement of the British with supplies cut off was tantamount to starving them into submission or death. He instructed the Elliot cousins to occupy one of the
Chusan Islands
Chusan Islands
in the
Hangzhou Bay Hangzhou Bay, or the Bay of Hangzhou (), is a funnel-shaped inlet of the East China Sea The East China Sea is an arm of the Western Pacific Ocean, located directly offshore from East China (hence the name), covering an area of roughly . ...
delta across from
Shanghai Shanghai (, , Standard Mandarin Standard Chinese, in linguistics known as Standard Northern Mandarin, Standard Beijing Mandarin or simply Mandarin, is a Mandarin Chinese#Subgrouping, dialect of Mandarin that emerged as the lingua fra ...

Shanghai
, then to present a letter from himself to a Chinese official for the Emperor, then to proceed to the
Gulf of Bohai The Bohai Sea or Bo Sea, also known as Bohai Gulf, Bo Gulf or Pohai Bay (), is a marginal sea This is a list of seas of the World Ocean, including marginal seas, areas of water, various gulfs, bights, bays, and straits. Terminology * Ocea ...
for a treaty, and if the Chinese resisted, then to blockade the key ports of the
Yangtze The Yangtze or Yangzi ( or ) is the longest , the in the world and the longest in the world to flow entirely within one country. It rises at Jari Hill in the (Tibetan Plateau) and flows in a generally easterly direction to the . It is ...
and
Yellow Yellow is the color between green and Orange (colour), orange on the Visible spectrum, spectrum of visible light. It is evoked by light with a dominant wavelength of roughly 575585 Nanometre, nm. It is a primary color in subtractive color syst ...
rivers. Palmerston demanded a territorial base in the Chusan Islands for trade so that British merchants "may not be subject to the arbitrary caprice either of the Government of Peking, or its local Authorities at the Sea-Ports of the Empire". In 1841, Elliot negotiated with Lin's successor, Qishan, in the
Convention of Chuenpi The Convention of Chuenpi (also "Chuenpee", ) was a tentative agreement between British Plenipotentiary Charles Elliot Admiral Admiral is one of the highest ranks in some navy, navies, and in many navies is the highest rank. In the Com ...
during the
First Opium War The First Opium War (), also known as the Opium War or the Anglo-Chinese War, was a series of military engagements fought between Britain and the Qing dynasty The Qing dynasty, officially the Great Qing (), was the last Dynasties in ...
. On 20 January, Elliot announced "the conclusion of preliminary arrangements", which included the cession of the then-barren
Hong Kong Island 250px, Kornhill and Shau Kei Wan, located in the northern part of Eastern District Hong Kong Island is an Islands and peninsulas of Hong Kong, island in the southern part of Hong Kong. It has a population of 1,289,500 and its population de ...

Hong Kong Island
and its harbour to the
British Crown The Crown is the in all its aspects within the of the s and their subdivisions (such as the , , , or ). Legally ill-defined, the term has different meanings depending on context. It is used to designate the monarch in either a personal capa ...

British Crown
.
The Chinese Repository
'. Volume 10. pp. 63–64.
Elliot chose Hong Kong Island instead of Chusan because he believed a settlement nearer to
Shanghai Shanghai (, , Standard Mandarin Standard Chinese, in linguistics known as Standard Northern Mandarin, Standard Beijing Mandarin or simply Mandarin, is a Mandarin Chinese#Subgrouping, dialect of Mandarin that emerged as the lingua fra ...

Shanghai
would cause an "indefinite protraction of hostilities", whereas Hong Kong Island's harbour was a valuable base for the British trading community in Canton. British rule began with the occupation of the island on 26 January. Commodore
Gordon Bremer Sir James John Gordon Bremer (26 September 1786 – 14 February 1850) was a Royal Navy The Royal Navy (RN) is the United Kingdom's Navy, naval warfare force. Although warships were used by English and Scottish kings from the early medieval ...

Gordon Bremer
, commander-in-chief of British forces in China, took formal possession of the island at
Possession Point Possession Point () is a former point of land on the northwestern coast of Hong Kong Island 250px, Kornhill and Shau Kei Wan, located in the northern part of Eastern District Hong Kong Island is an Islands and peninsulas of Hong Kon ...
, where the
Union Jack The Union Jack, or Union Flag, is the de facto national flag of the United Kingdom. Though no law has been passed officially making the Union Jack the national flag of the United Kingdom, it has effectively become the national flag through prec ...

Union Jack
was raised under a '' fire of joy'' from the marines and a royal salute from the warships. Hong Kong Island was ceded in the
Treaty of Nanking The Treaty of Nanking (Nanjing) was a peace treaty which ended the First Opium War (1839–1842) between the United Kingdom and China China, officially the People's Republic of China (PRC), is a country in East Asia. It is the List of ...
on 29 August 1842 and established as a
Crown colony A Crown colony or royal colony was a colony administered by The Crown within the British Empire. There was usually a Governor#United Kingdom overseas territories, Governor, appointed by the monarch of the UK on the advice of the ''Home'' (UK) Gov ...
after ratification was exchanged on 26 June 1843.


Growth and expansion

The treaty failed to satisfy British expectations of a major expansion of trade and profit, which led to increasing pressure for a revision of the terms. In October 1856, Chinese authorities in Canton detained the ''Arrow'', a Chinese-owned ship registered in Hong Kong to enjoy protection of the British flag. The Consul in Canton, Harry Parkes, claimed the hauling down of the flag and arrest of the crew were "an insult of very grave character". Parkes and
Sir John Bowring Sir John Bowring (Chinese language, Chinese translated name: 寶寧, 寶靈 (for Mandarin speakers) or 包令 (for Cantonese)) (Thai language, Thai: พระยาสยามมานุกูลกิจ สยามมิตรมหายศ) ...

Sir John Bowring
, the 4th
Governor of Hong Kong The Governor of Hong Kong was the representative of the British British may refer to: Peoples, culture, and language * British people, nationals or natives of the United Kingdom, British Overseas Territories, and Crown Dependencies. * ...
, seized the incident to pursue a forward policy. In March 1857, Palmerston appointed
Lord Elgin Earl of Elgin is a title in the Peerage of Scotland, created in 1633 for Thomas Bruce, 1st Earl of Elgin, Thomas Bruce, 3rd Lord Kinloss. He was later created Baron Bruce, of Whorlton in the County of York, in the Peerage of England on 30 July 1 ...
as Plenipotentiary with the aim of securing a new and satisfactory treaty. A French expeditionary force joined the British to avenge the execution of
a French missionary
a French missionary
in 1856. In 1860, the capture of the Taku Forts and occupation of Beijing led to the
Treaty of Tientsin The Treaty of Tientsin, now also known as the Treaty of Tianjin, is a collective name for several documents signed at Tianjin Tianjin (), Postal Map Romanization, alternately romanized as Tientsin, is a Direct-administered municipalities ...
and
Convention of Peking The Convention of Peking or First Convention of Peking is an agreement comprising three distinct treaties A treaty is a formal legally binding written agreement between actors in international law. It is usually entered into by sovereign s ...

Convention of Peking
. In the Treaty of Tientsin, the Chinese accepted British demands to open more ports, navigate the Yangtze River, legalise the opium trade and have diplomatic representation in Beijing. During the conflict, the British occupied the
Kowloon Peninsula The Kowloon Peninsula is a peninsula A peninsula ( la, paeninsula from ' "almost" and ' "island") is a landform surrounded by water on most of its border while being connected to a mainland from which it extends. The surrounding water is us ...

Kowloon Peninsula
, where the flat land was valuable training and resting ground. The area in what is now south of
Boundary Street Image:Boundary st hongkong.JPG, 250px, Boundary Street near Kowloon Tong Boundary Street is a three-lane one-way street in Kowloon, Hong Kong. It runs in an easterly direction from its start at the intersection with Tung Chau Street in the ...
and
Stonecutters Island Stonecutters Island or Ngong Shuen Chau is a former island upright=1.15, Great_Britain.html"_;"title="Ireland_(left)_and_Great_Britain">Ireland_(left)_and_Great_Britain_(right),_are_large_islands_of_north-west_Europe image:Small_Island_in_L ...
was ceded in the Convention of Peking. In 1898, the British sought to extend Hong Kong for defence. After negotiations began in April 1898, with the British Minister in Beijing, Sir Claude MacDonald, representing Britain, and diplomat
Li Hongzhang Li Hongzhang, Marquess Suyi ( zh, t=李鴻章; also Li Hung-chang; 15 February 1823 – 7 November 1901) was a Chinese politician, general and diplomat of the late Qing dynasty The Qing dynasty, officially the Great Qing (), w ...

Li Hongzhang
leading the Chinese, the
Second Convention of Peking The Convention between the United Kingdom and China, Respecting an Extension of Hong Kong Territory, commonly known as the Convention for the Extension of Hong Kong Territory or the Second Convention of Peking, was a lease A lease is a contrac ...
was signed on 9 June. Since the foreign powers had agreed by the late 19th century that it was no longer permissible to acquire outright sovereignty over any parcel of Chinese territory, and in keeping with the other territorial cessions China made to
Russia Russia ( rus, link=no, Россия, Rossiya, ), or the Russian Federation, is a country spanning Eastern Europe Eastern Europe is the eastern region of Europe. There is no consistent definition of the precise area it covers, partly becau ...
,
Germany Germany (german: Deutschland, ), officially the Federal Republic of Germany, is a country in . It is the in Europe after , and the most populous . Germany is situated between the and seas to the north, and the to the south; it covers an area of ...
and
France France (), officially the French Republic (french: link=no, République française), is a spanning and in the and the , and s. Its extends from the to the and from the to the and the ; overseas territories include in , in the N ...
that same year, the extension of Hong Kong took the form of a 99-year lease. The lease consisted of the rest of Kowloon south of the
Sham Chun River The Sham Chun, Shum Chum River, or Shenzhen River () serves as the list of countries and territories by land borders, natural border between Hong Kong and Mainland China, together with the Sha Tau Kok River and Deep Bay, China, Deep Bay. It ...
and 230 islands, which became known as the
New Territories The New Territories is one of the three main regions of Hong Kong Hong Kong (, ), officially the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People's Republic of China (HKSAR) (), is a metropolitan area and Special administrative re ...
. The British formally took possession on 16 April 1899.


Japanese occupation

In 1941, during the Second World War, the British reached an agreement with the Chinese government under Generalissimo
Chiang Kai-shek Chiang Kai-shek (31 October 1887 – 5 April 1975), also known as Chiang Chung-cheng and Romanization of Chinese, romanized via Mandarin Chinese, Mandarin as Chiang Chieh-shih and Jiang Jieshi, was a Chinese Kuomintang, Nationalist politician, ...

Chiang Kai-shek
that if
Japan Japan ( ja, 日本, or , and formally ) is an in . It is situated in the northwest , and is bordered on the west by the , while extending from the in the north toward the and in the south. Japan is a part of the , and spans of coveri ...

Japan
attacked Hong Kong, the Chinese National Army would attack the Japanese from the rear to relieve pressure on the British garrison. On 8 December, the
Battle of Hong Kong The Battle of Hong Kong (8–25 December 1941), also known as the Defence of Hong Kong and the Fall of Hong Kong, was one of the first battles of the Pacific War in World War II. On the same morning as the attack on Pearl Harbor, forces of the E ...
began when Japanese air bombers effectively destroyed British air power in one attack. Two days later, the Japanese breached the
Gin Drinkers Line The Gin Drinkers Line, or Gin Drinkers' Line, was a United Kingdom, British military defensive line against the Battle of Hong Kong, Japanese invasion of Hong Kong during the Battle of Hong Kong in December 1941, part of the Pacific War. The con ...

Gin Drinkers Line
in the New Territories. The British commander, Major-General
Christopher Maltby Major General (United Kingdom), Major General Christopher Michael Maltby, (13 January 1891 – 6 September 1980) was a senior officer in the British Indian Army who served as Commander British Forces in Hong Kong, Commander of British Troops in Ho ...
, concluded that the island could not be defended for long unless he withdrew his brigade from the mainland. On 18 December, the Japanese crossed
Victoria Harbour Victoria Harbour is a natural landform harbor, harbour in Hong Kong separating Hong Kong Island in the south from the Kowloon Peninsula to the north. The harbour's deep, sheltered waters and strategic location on the South China Sea were instr ...

Victoria Harbour
. By 25 December, organised defence was reduced into pockets of resistance. Maltby recommended a surrender to Governor Sir Mark Young, who accepted his advice to reduce further losses. A day after the invasion, Chiang ordered three corps under General
Yu Hanmou
Yu Hanmou
to march towards Hong Kong. The plan was to launch a New Year's Day attack on the Japanese in the Canton region, but before the Chinese infantry could attack, the Japanese had broken Hong Kong's defences. The British casualties were 2,232 killed or missing and 2,300 wounded. The Japanese reported 1,996 killed and 6,000 wounded. The Japanese soldiers committed atrocities, including rape, on many locals. The population fell in half, from 1.6 million in 1941 to 750,000 at war's end because of fleeing refugees; they returned in 1945. The Japanese imprisoned the ruling British colonial elite and sought to win over the local merchant gentry by appointments to advisory councils and neighbourhood watch groups. The policy worked well for Japan and produced extensive collaboration from both the elite and the middle class, with far less terror than in other Chinese cities. Hong Kong was transformed into a Japanese colony, with Japanese businesses replacing the British. However, the Japanese Empire had severe logistical difficulties and by 1943 the food supply for Hong Kong was problematic. The overlords became more brutal and corrupt, and the Chinese gentry became disenchanted. With the surrender of Japan, the transition back to British rule was smooth, for on the mainland the
Nationalist Nationalism is an idea and movement that promotes the interests of a particular nation (as in a in-group and out-group, group of people),Anthony D. Smith, Smith, Anthony. ''Nationalism: Theory, Ideology, History''. Polity (publisher), Polity, ...
and
Communist Communism (from Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. Through the power of the Roman Repu ...

Communist
forces were preparing for a civil war and ignored Hong Kong. In the long run the occupation strengthened the pre-war social and economic order among the Chinese business community by eliminating some conflicts of interests and reducing the prestige and power of the British.


Restoration of British rule

On 14 August 1945, when Japan announced its unconditional surrender, the British formed a naval task group to sail towards Hong Kong. On 1 September, Rear-Admiral
Cecil Harcourt Admiral (Royal Navy), Admiral Sir Cecil Halliday Jepson Harcourt (translated to Chinese language, Chinese as zh , t=wikt:夏, 夏wikt:慤, 慤 , j=haa6 kok3 , labels=no; 11 April 1892 – 19 December 1959) was a British naval officer. He was the ...

Cecil Harcourt
proclaimed a military administration with himself as its head. He formally accepted the Japanese surrender on 16 September in
Government House Government House is the name of many of the residences of governors-general, governors and lieutenant-governor A lieutenant governor, lieutenant-governor, or vice governor is a high officer of state, whose precise role and rank vary by jurisdictio ...

Government House
. Young, upon his return as governor in May 1946, pursued political reform known as the "
Young Plan The Young Plan was a program for settling Germany ) , image_map = , map_caption = , map_width = 250px , capital = Berlin , coordinates = , largest_city = capital , languages_type = Official language , languages = German language ...
", believing that, to counter the Chinese government's determination to recover Hong Kong, it was necessary to give local inhabitants a greater stake in the territory by widening the political franchise to include them.


Transferral of Sovereignty

The Sino-British Joint Declaration was signed by both the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom and the Premier of the People's Republic of China on 19 December 1984 in Beijing. The Declaration entered into force with the exchange of instruments of ratification on 27 May 1985 and was registered by the People's Republic of China and United Kingdom governments at the United Nations on 12 June 1985. In the Joint Declaration, the People's Republic of China Government stated that it had decided to resume the exercise of sovereignty over Hong Kong (including
Hong Kong Island 250px, Kornhill and Shau Kei Wan, located in the northern part of Eastern District Hong Kong Island is an Islands and peninsulas of Hong Kong, island in the southern part of Hong Kong. It has a population of 1,289,500 and its population de ...

Hong Kong Island
, Kowloon, and the New Territories) with effect from 1 July 1997 and the United Kingdom Government declared that it would relinquish Hong Kong to the PRC with effect from 1 July 1997. In the document, the People's Republic of China Government also declared its basic policies regarding Hong Kong. In accordance with the
One Country, Two Systems "One country, two systems" is a constitutional principle of the People's Republic of China describing the governance of Hong Kong Hong Kong (, ), officially the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People's Republic of China ...
principle agreed between the United Kingdom and the People's Republic of China, the socialist system of People's Republic of China would not be practised in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR), and Hong Kong's previous capitalist system and its way of life would remain unchanged for a period of 50 years. The Joint Declaration provides that these basic policies shall be stipulated in the
Hong Kong Basic Law The Basic Law of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People's Republic of China is a national law of China China (), officially the People's Republic of China (PRC; ), is a country in . It is the world's , with a of mo ...
. The ceremony of the signing of the Sino-British Joint Declaration took place at 18:00, 19 December 1984 at the Western Main Chamber of the
Great Hall of the People The Great Hall of the People is a state building located at the western edge of Tiananmen Square in Beijing. It is used for legislative and ceremonial activities by the government of the People's Republic of China (PRC) and the ruling Chinese Com ...

Great Hall of the People
. The
Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office The Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office of the State Council is an administrative agency of the State Council of the People's Republic of China The State Council, constitutionally synonymous with the Central People's Government since 195 ...
at first proposed a list of 60–80 Hong Kong people to attend the ceremony. The number was finally extended to 101. The list included Hong Kong government officials, members of the Legislative and Executive Councils, chairmen of
The Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation The Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation Limited (), commonly known as HSBC (), is the Hong Kong Hong Kong (; , ), officially the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People's Republic of China (HKSAR), is a and of Ch ...
and
Standard Chartered Bank Standard Chartered plc is a British multinational banking and financial services company headquartered in London London is the capital city, capital and List of urban areas in the United Kingdom, largest city of England and the United Kin ...

Standard Chartered Bank
, Hong Kong celebrities such as Li Ka-shing, Pao Yue-kong and Fok Ying-tung, and also
Martin Lee Chu-ming Martin Lee Chu-ming, Senior Counsel, SC, Justice of Peace, JP (; born 8 June 1938) is a Hong Kong politician and barrister. He is the founding chairman of the United Democrats of Hong Kong and its successor, the Democratic Party (Hong Kong), Dem ...
and
Szeto Wah Szeto Wah (; 28 February 1931 – 2 January 2011) was a prominent Hong Kong democracy activist and politician. He was the founding chairman of the Hong Kong Alliance in Support of Patriotic Democratic Movements of China, the Hong Kong Profess ...
. The handover ceremony was held at the new wing of the
Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre The Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre (HKCEC) is one of the two major convention and exhibition venues in Hong Kong Hong Kong (; , ), officially the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People's Republic of Chin ...
in
Wan Chai Wan Chai is a metropolitan area situated at the western part of the Wan Chai District on the northern shore of Hong Kong Island, in Hong Kong. Its other boundaries are Canal Road, Hong Kong, Canal Road to the east, Arsenal Street to the west ...

Wan Chai
on the night of 30 June 1997. The principal British guest was
Charles, Prince of Wales Charles, Prince of Wales (Charles Philip Arthur George; born 14 November 1948) is the heir apparent An heir apparent is a person who is first in an order of succession An order of succession or right of succession is the line of ind ...

Charles, Prince of Wales
who read a farewell speech on behalf of the
Queen Queen may refer to: Monarchy * Queen regnant, a female monarch of a Kingdom ** List of queens regnant * Queen consort, the wife of a reigning king * Queen dowager, the widow of a king * Queen mother, a queen dowager who is the mother of a reigni ...
. The newly appointed
Prime Minister of the United Kingdom The prime minister of the United Kingdom is the head of government The head of government is either the highest or second-highest official in the Executive (government), executive branch of a sovereign state, a federated state, or a ...
,
Tony Blair Sir Anthony Charles Lynton Blair (born 6 May 1953) is a British politician who served as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1997 to 2007 and Leader of the Labour Party (UK), Leader of the Labour Party from 1994 to 2007. On his resig ...

Tony Blair
, the British Foreign Minister,
Robin Cook Robert Finlayson Cook (28 February 19466 August 2005) was a British Labour Party (UK), Labour Party politician, who served as the Member of Parliament (United Kingdom), Member of Parliament (MP) for Livingston (UK Parliament constituency), Livi ...
, the departing Hong Kong governor,
Chris Patten Christopher Francis Patten, Baron Patten of Barnes, (; born 12 May 1944) is a British politician who was the 28th and last Governor of Hong Kong The Governor of Hong Kong was the representative of the United Kingdom, British The Crow ...

Chris Patten
, Chief of the Defence Staff of the United Kingdom, Field Marshal Sir Charles Guthrie, also attended. Representing China were the
President of the People's Republic of China The president of the People's Republic of China is the head of state A head of state (or chief of state) is the public persona who officially embodies a state (polity), state#Foakes, Foakes, pp. 110–11 "he head of state He or HE may ...
,
Jiang Zemin Jiang Zemin (; ; born 17 August 1926) is a retired Chinese politician who served as General Secretary of the Chinese Communist Party from 1989 to 2002, as Chairman of the Central Military Commission (China), Chairman of the Central Military ...

Jiang Zemin
,
Premier of the People's Republic of China The premier of the State Council of the People's Republic of China, abbreviated to Premier, sometimes also referred to informally as the Prime minister, is the head of government The head of government is either the highest or second-hig ...
,
Li Peng Li Peng (; 20 October 1928 – 22 July 2019) was a Chinese politician who served as the fourth Premier of the People's Republic of China from 1987 to 1998, and as the Chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress T ...

Li Peng
, and
Tung Chee-hwa Tung Chee-hwa (; born 7 July 1937) is a Shanghai-born Hong Kong businessman and politician A politician is a person active in party politics Politics (from , ) is the set of activities that are associated with making decisions in gr ...
, the first Chief Executive of the
Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Hong Kong (; , ), officially the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People's Republic of China (HKSAR), is a city A city is a large human settlement.Goodall, B. (1987) ''The Penguin Dictionary of Human Geography''. London: Pengu ...
of the People's Republic of China. This event was broadcast on television and radio stations across the world.


Government

Hong Kong was a
Crown colony A Crown colony or royal colony was a colony administered by The Crown within the British Empire. There was usually a Governor#United Kingdom overseas territories, Governor, appointed by the monarch of the UK on the advice of the ''Home'' (UK) Gov ...
of the United Kingdom and maintained an administration roughly modelled after the
Westminster system The Westminster system or Westminster model is a type of parliamentary A parliamentary system or parliamentary democracy is a system of democratic Democrat, Democrats, or Democratic may refer to: *A proponent of democracy Democracy ...
. The
Letters Patent upLetters patent transferring a predecessor of the Nancy Nancy may refer to: Places France * Nancy, France, a city in the northeastern French department of Meurthe-et-Moselle and formerly the capital of the duchy of Lorraine ** Arrondiss ...
formed the constitutional basis of the colonial government and the
Royal Instructions Royal instructions are formal instructions issued to governors of the United Kingdom's colonial dependencies, and past instructions can be of continuing constitutional significance in a former colonial dependency or Dominion The word Dominion ...
detailed how the territory should be governed and organised. The
Governor A governor is, in most cases, a public official with the power to govern the Executive (government), executive branch of a non-sovereign or sub-national level of government, ranking under the head of state. In federations, ''governor'' may be t ...
was the head of government and appointed by the
British monarch The monarchy of the United Kingdom, commonly referred to as the British monarchy, is the constitutional A constitution is an aggregate of fundamental principles or established precedents A precedent is a principle or rule established ...
to serve as the representative of the Crown in the colony. Executive power was highly concentrated with the Governor, who himself appointed almost all members of the
Legislative Council A legislative council is the legislature, or one of the legislative chambers, of a nation A nation is a community of people formed on the basis of a common language, history, ethnicity, or a common culture, and, in many cases, a shared terri ...
and Executive Council and also served as President of both chambers.Hong Kong Government (July 1984).
Green Paper: The Further Development of Representative Government in Hong Kong
'. Hong Kong: Government Printer.
The British government provided oversight for the colonial government; the
Foreign Secretary The secretary of state for foreign, Commonwealth and development affairs, also referred to as the foreign secretary, is a Secretary of State (United Kingdom), secretary of state in the Government of the United Kingdom, with overall responsibili ...
formally approved any additions to the Legislative and Executive Councils and the Sovereign held sole authority to amend the Letters Patent and Royal Instructions. The Executive Council determined administrative policy changes and considered primary legislation before passing it to the Legislative Council for approval. This advisory body also itself issued secondary legislation under a limited set of colonial ordinances. The Legislative Council debated proposed legislation and was responsible for the appropriation of public funds. This chamber was reformed in the last years of colonial rule to introduce more democratic representation. Indirectly elected functional constituency seats were introduced in 1985 and popularly elected geographical constituency seats in 1991. Further electoral reform in 1994 effectively made the legislature broadly representative. The administrative Civil Service was led by the Colonial Secretary (later Chief Secretary), who was deputy to the Governor. The judicial system was based on
English law English law is the common law List of national legal systems, legal system of England and Wales, comprising mainly English criminal law, criminal law and Civil law (common law), civil law, each branch having its own Courts of England and Wales, ...
, with Chinese customary law taking a secondary role in civil cases involving Chinese residents. The
Supreme Court of Hong Kong The Supreme Court of Hong Kong was the highest court in Hong Kong Hong Kong (, ), officially the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People's Republic of China (HKSAR) (), is a metropolitan area and Special administrative r ...
was the highest court and ruled on all civil and criminal cases in the colony. During the early colonial period, extraterritorial appellate cases from other regions of China involving British subjects were also tried in this court. Further appeals from the Supreme Court were heard by the
Judicial Committee of the Privy Council The Judicial Committee of the Privy Council (JCPC) is the highest court of appeal for certain British territories, some Commonwealth countries and a few UK bodies. Established on 13 August 1833 to hear appeals formerly heard by the King-in-Cou ...
, which exercised final adjudication over the entire British Empire.


Cadets

In 1861, Governor Sir Hercules Robinson introduced the Hong Kong Cadetship, which recruited young graduates from Britain to learn
Cantonese Cantonese ( zh, t=廣東話, s=广东话, first=t; Yale Yale University is a private Ivy League The Ivy League (also known as The Ancient Eight) is an American collegiate athletic conference comprising eight private research un ...

Cantonese
and written Chinese for two years, before deploying them on a fast track to the
Civil Service The civil service is a collective term for a sector of government composed mainly of career civil servants hired on professional merit rather than appointed or elected, whose institutional tenure typically survives transitions of political leader ...
. Cadet officers gradually formed the backbone of the civil administration. After the Second World War, ethnic Chinese were allowed into the service, followed by women. Cadets were renamed Administrative Officers in the 1950s, and they remained the elite of the Civil Service during British rule.


Economy

The stability, security, and predictability of
British law The United Kingdom The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly known as the United Kingdom (UK) or Britain,Usage is mixed. The Guardian' and Telegraph' use Britain as a synonym for the United Kingdom. Some prefer t ...
and government enabled Hong Kong to flourish as a centre for international trade. In the colony's first decade, the revenue from the opium trade was a key source of government funds. The importance of opium reduced over time, but the colonial government was dependent on its revenues until the Japanese occupation in 1941. Although the largest businesses in the early colony were operated by British, American, and other expatriates, Chinese workers provided the bulk of the manpower to build a new port city. By the late 1980s, many ethnic Chinese people had become major business figures in Hong Kong. Amongst these billionaires was Sir Li Ka-shing, who had become one of the colony's wealthiest people by this time.


Dissent

During China's turbulent 20th century, Hong Kong served as a safe haven for dissidents, political refugees, and officials who lost power. British policy allowed dissidents to live in Hong Kong as long as they did not break local laws or harm British interests. The implementation of this policy varied according to what the senior officials thought constituted British interests and the state of relations with China. The
Canton–Hong Kong strike The Canton–Hong Kong strike was a strike Strike may refer to: People *Strike (surname) Physical confrontation or removal *Strike (attack), attack with an inanimate object or a part of the human body intended to cause harm *Airstrike, military ...
(1925–1926) was anti-imperialist in nature. The 1966 riots and
Maoist Maoism, officially called Mao Zedong Thought () by the Chinese Communist Party ) , anthem = "The Internationale" , seats1_title = National People's Congress (13th National People's Congress, 13th) , seats1 = , s ...
-led 1967 riots, essentially spillovers from the
Cultural Revolution The Cultural Revolution, formally known as the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution, was a Political sociology, sociopolitical Social movement, movement in China from 1966 until Mao Zedong's death in 1976. Launched by Mao Zedong, Chairman of ...
, were large scale demonstrations fuelled by tensions surrounding labour disputes and dissatisfaction towards the government. Although the 1967 riots started as a labour dispute, the incident escalated quickly after the leftist camp and mainland officials stationed in Hong Kong seized the opportunity to mobilise their followers to protest against the colonial government.Cheung, Gary (10 June 2016).
When the Cultural Revolution spilled over into riots in Hong Kong – and changed lives forever
". ''South China Morning Post''. Retrieved 10 July 2018.
Chinese
Communist Communism (from Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. Through the power of the Roman Repu ...

Communist
members organised the Anti-British Struggle Committee during the riots. Steve Tsang, director of the China Institute of the
School of Oriental and African Studies SOAS University of London (; the School of Oriental and African Studies) is a public university, public research university in London, England, and a constituent college of the federal University of London. Founded in 1916, SOAS is located in ...
at the
University of London The University of London (UoL; abbreviated as Lond or more rarely Londin in post-nominals Post-nominal letters, also called post-nominal initials, post-nominal titles or designatory letters, are letters placed after a person's name to indicate ...
, wrote that it was "ironic" that despite Hong Kong being a symbol of China's humiliation by Britain, there was not one major movement started by the Chinese residents of the colony for its retrocession to China, even though there had been several upsurges of
Chinese nationalism The current national flag of the China, People's Republic of China (1949–present), representing a variety of Chinese nationalism. Currently in use in mainland China, Hong Kong and Macau. Closely associated with the Chinese Communist Party, Co ...

Chinese nationalism
. He explained:
In the 1920s, the working class Chinese of Hong Kong did not have a good reason to rally around the Hong Kong government, and they were more susceptible to appeals based on Chinese nationalism. Consequently, the call of the Communists was basically heeded by the working men, and their actions practically paralysed the colony for a year. By the nd of the1960s, however, the attempts by the Hong Kong government to maintain stability and good order which helped improve everyone's living conditions, and ... the beginning of the emergence of a Hong Kong identity, changed the attitude of the local Chinese. They overwhelmingly rallied around the colonial British regime.


See also

*
British Empire The British Empire was composed of the dominions, Crown colony, colonies, protectorates, League of Nations mandate, mandates, and other Dependent territory, territories ruled or administered by the United Kingdom and its predecessor states. ...

British Empire
*
British Weihaiwei British Weihaiwei, on the northeastern coast of China, was a leased territory of the United Kingdom from 1898 until 1930. The capital was Weihai, Port Edward (now known as "Weihai"). The leased territory covered and included the walled city of Po ...
(1898–1930) *
China–United Kingdom relations Chinese-United Kingdom relations (), more commonly known as British–Chinese relations, Anglo-Chinese relations and Sino-British relations, refers to the international relations, interstate relations between China (with its various governments ...
*
Guangzhouwan Guangzhouwan, officially Kouang-Tchéou-Wan, was a small enclave An enclave is a territory (or a part of one) that is entirely surrounded by the territory of one other state. Enclaves may also exist within territorial waters. ''Enclave'' i ...
(1898–1945), French leased territory in China administered as part of
Indochina Mainland Southeast Asia, also known as the Indochinese Peninsula or Indochina, is the continental portion of Southeast Asia Southeast Asia, also spelled South East Asia and South-East Asia, and also known as Southeastern Asia or SEA, is t ...
*
Imperialism Imperialism is a policy or ideology of extending rule over peoples and other countries, for extending political and economic access, power and control, often through employing hard power Hard power is the use of military and economics, economi ...

Imperialism
*
Portuguese Macau Portuguese Macau was a colonial possession of Portugal that existed from the first Portuguese settlement in 1557 to the end of Portuguese Portuguese Empire, colonial rule and transfer of complete sovereignty to the China, People's Republic of Ch ...
* Separation of powers in Hong Kong


Notes


References


Citations


Bibliography

* . * . * . *


Further reading

*Carroll, John M (2007). ''A Concise History of Hong Kong''. Plymouth:
Rowman & Littlefield Rowman & Littlefield Publishing Group is an independent publishing house founded in 1949. Under several imprints, the company offers scholarly books for the academic market, as well as trade books. The company also owns the book distributing compan ...
. . *Clayton, Adam (2003). ''Hong Kong Since 1945: An Economic and Social History''. * Endacott, G. B. (1964). ''An Eastern Entrepot: A Collection of Documents Illustrating the History of Hong Kong''.
Her Majesty's Stationery Office The Office of Public Sector Information (OPSI) is the body responsible for the operation of His/Her Majesty's Stationery Office (HMSO) and of other public information services of the United Kingdom The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Nor ...
. p. 293. . . *Lui, Adam Yuen-chung (1990). ''Forts and Pirates – A History of Hong Kong''. Hong Kong History Society. p. 114. . *Liu, Shuyong; Wang, Wenjiong; Chang, Mingyu (1997). ''An Outline History of Hong Kong''.
Foreign Languages Press Foreign Languages Press is a publishing house located in China China, officially the People's Republic of China (PRC), is a country in East Asia. It is the List of countries and dependencies by population, world's most populous country, w ...
. p. 291. . *Ngo, Tak-Wing (1999). ''Hong Kong's History: State and Society Under Colonial Rule''. Routledge. p. 205. . * Welsh, Frank (1993). ''A Borrowed Place: The History of Hong Kong''.
Kodansha International is a Japanese privately-held publishing company headquartered in Bunkyō, Tokyo Tokyo ( , ; Japanese language, Japanese: 東京, ''Tōkyō'' ), officially the Tokyo Metropolis (Japanese language, Japanese: 東京都, ''Tōkyō-to''), is ...
. p. 624. .


External links


Official website of the British Hong Kong Government
. Archived fro
the original
on 24 December 1996. Retrieved 2013-03-26. {{Authority control Hong Kong and the Commonwealth of Nations 19th century in Hong Kong 20th century in Hong Kong 1841 establishments in Hong Kong 1841 establishments in the British Empire 1997 disestablishments in Hong Kong Concessions in China China–United Kingdom relations
Hong Kong Hong Kong (; , ), officially the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People's Republic of China (HKSAR), is a List of cities in China, city and Special administrative regions of China, special administrative region of China on the ...
Hong Kong Hong Kong (; , ), officially the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People's Republic of China (HKSAR), is a List of cities in China, city and Special administrative regions of China, special administrative region of China on the ...
History of Hong Kong Hong Kong–United Kingdom relations States and territories established in 1841 States and territories disestablished in 1941 States and territories established in 1945 States and territories disestablished in 1997 Former British colonies