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The handover ceremony 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 regions of China, special administrative region of the China, People's Repu ...
in 1997 officially marked the
transfer of sovereignty over Hong Kong The transfer of sovereignty over Hong Kong, commonly known as the handover of Hong Kong (or simply the Handover, also the Return in mainland China), occurred at midnight at the start of 1 July 1997, when the United Kingdom The United ...
from the
United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland 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 to use Britain as shortha ...
to the
People's Republic of 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, with a population of around 1.4 billion. Covering approximately 9.6& ...
. It was an internationally televised event with the ceremony commencing on the night of 30 June 1997 and finishing on the morning of 1 July 1997. The 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 China (H ...
(HKCEC) 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 ...
.


Representatives

; For the
People's Republic of 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, with a population of around 1.4 billion. Covering approximately 9.6& ...
* Jiang Zemin, General Secretary of the Communist Party and President of China *
Li Peng Li Peng (; 20 October 1928 – 22 July 2019) was a Chinese politician who was 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, China's t ...

Li Peng
, Premier of the State Council *
Qian Qichen
Qian Qichen
,
Minister of Foreign Affairs A foreign affairs minister or minister of foreign affairs (less commonly minister for foreign affairs) is generally a cabinet minister in charge of a state's foreign policy and relations. Difference in titles In some nations, such as India ...
and 3rd Vice Premier of the State Council * Tung Chee-hwa,
Chief Executive of Hong Kong The chief executive of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region is the representative of the Hong Kong Hong Kong (, ), officially the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People's Republic of China (HKSAR) (), is a metropo ...
*
General A general officer is an officer of high rank in the armies, and in some nations' air forces, space forces, or marines Marines or naval infantry, are typically a military force trained to operate on Littoral Zone, littoral zone in suppo ...
Zhang Wannian, Vice Chairman of the Central Military Commission ; For the
United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland 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 to use Britain as shortha ...
*Charles, Prince of Wales, HRH The Prince of Wales (representing Monarchy of the United Kingdom, Queen Elizabeth II) *Chris Patten, Governor of Hong Kong *Tony Blair, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, Prime Minister and First Lord of the Treasury *Robin Cook, Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs *General (United Kingdom), General Charles Guthrie, Baron Guthrie of Craigiebank, Sir Charles Guthrie, Chief of the Defence Staff (United Kingdom), Chief of the Defence Staff Other guests: * Madeleine Albright, Secretary of State of the United States of America and representatives from more than 40 other countries, including Australia and Japan.


Order of events


Monday, 30 June 1997

* (15:00 HKT/07:00 GMT) – Beijing Police cleared more than 60,000 people off Tiananmen Square for the final preparations of the all-night official celebration gala to mark the handover of Hong Kong to the People's Republic of China. * (16:30 HKT/08:30 GMT) – Governor Chris Patten departed from Government House for HMY Britannia, HMY ''Britannia''. * (17:30 HKT/09:30 GMT) – President Jiang Zemin and Premier Li Peng arrived in Hong Kong by Air China Boeing 747 from Shenzhen. * (18:00 HKT/10:00 GMT) – British Hong Kong troops farewell ceremony was held. Governor Chris Patten began his speech with "Today is a day of celebration, not sorrow". * (18:15 HKT/10:15 GMT) – Sunset farewell ceremony featuring East Tamar Garrison parade on Hong Kong waterfronts. * (18:30 HKT/10:30 GMT) – Chinese Foreign Minister Qian Qichen met with British Foreign Secretary Robin Cook. * (19:30 HKT/11:30 GMT) – Cocktail reception for 4,000 guests at Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre. * (19:45 HKT/11:45 GMT) – Prime Minister Tony Blair meets for summit talks with President Jiang Zemin. * (21:00 HKT/13:00 GMT) – About 500 People's Liberation Army vehicles crossed the border from China to Hong Kong. Democratic development in Hong Kong, Pro-democracy advocates protest at the Legislative Council of Hong Kong, Legislative Council in preparation of Chinese rule. * (22:00 HKT/14:00 GMT) – Beijing celebrations including live performances and fireworks were expected to run for 7 hours. The theme of Beijing Blesses you Hong Kong was under preparation. * (23:30 HKT/15:30 GMT) – Handover Ceremony officially begins. The Charles, Prince of Wales, Prince of Wales reads a farewell speech on behalf of Queen Elizabeth II. * (23:59:00-23:59:48 HKT/15:59:00-15:59:48 GMT) – Moments before midnight the Flag of the United Kingdom and the Flag of Hong Kong (1959–1997), fourth and final British colonial flag of Hong Kong (used from 1959-1997) were slowly lowered to the British national anthem "God Save the Queen," symbolising the end of British colonial rule in Hong Kong. Then, a 12-second hiatus occurred between the British and Chinese anthems.


Tuesday, 1 July 1997

* (00:00 HKT/16:00 GMT) – Sovereignty of Hong Kong is officially transferred from the United Kingdom to the People's Republic of China. The Flag of China, Flag of the People's Republic of China and the Flag of Hong Kong, new Hong Kong regional flag were simultaneously raised to the Chinese national anthem "March of the Volunteers", to officially mark the beginning of the Chinese rule in Hong Kong. Chinese leader Jiang Zemin gave a speech expressing his optimism for the "one country, two systems" implementation. Grand celebrations begin in the mainland with fireworks displays over Tiananmen Square. * (00:15 HKT/16:15 GMT) – Charles, Prince of Wales and Governor Chris Patten with his family, bid the citizens of Hong Kong farewell at the Tamar site. They boarded HMY ''Britannia'' and sailed to Manila in the Philippines before heading back to the United Kingdom. They were escorted by . Prime Minister Tony Blair and other British officials flew out by a British Airways Boeing 777-200ER from Kai Tak Airport to London's Heathrow Airport. * (01:30 HKT/17:30 GMT) – A swearing-in ceremony was held at the HKCEC for various HKSAR officials including Chief Executive Tung Chee-hwa, Chief Secretary for Administration Anson Chan, Financial Secretary Donald Tsang and Secretary for Justice Elsie Leung. * (02:45 HKT/18:45 GMT) – The provisional legislature held its first meeting after the handover to adopt handover-related laws. * (06:00 HKT/22:00 GMT) – 4,000-People's Liberation Army troops from the Hong Kong Garrison arrive by land, air and sea. * (10:00 HKT/02:00 GMT) – The new Hong Kong government hosted a celebration for 4,600-guests. Newly appointed Chief Executive's Tung Chee-hwa makes his inaugural speech. * (16:00 HKT/08:00 GMT) – Li Peng, Chinese Premier Li Peng makes a speech at a reception in the Great Hall of the People in Beijing. * (18:00 HKT/10:00 GMT) – Festival Performance by
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 regions of China, special administrative region of the China, People's Repu ...
mainland and international celebrities at the Hong Kong Coliseum. * (19:00 HKT/11:00 GMT) – Grand convention and art spectacle begins at the Workers' Stadium, Workers Stadium in Beijing. * (20:00 HKT/12:00 GMT) – The 1997 Hong Kong Spectacular featuring Causeway Bay to Victoria Harbour formal Central, Hong Kong fireworks display begins.


Reactions

In 2005, the British ''Mail on Sunday'' revealed Prince Charles's memorandum, of which "Clarence House said only 11 copies were made, circulated to close friends", where he referred to the transfer as the "Great Chinese Takeaway" and the Chinese officials as "appalling old waxworks". In another reported extract, Prince Charles described the ceremony as an "awful Soviet Union, Soviet-style" performance and dismissed the speech by Paramount leader, Chinese leader Jiang Zemin as "propaganda", complete with loud cheering "by the bussed-in party faithful at the suitable moment in the text." He also ridiculed the People's Liberation Army's goose-steps in the ceremony and claimed his trip on HMY Britannia, HMY ''Britannia'' out of Hong Kong was closely watched by Chinese warships. The 12-second silence between the British and Chinese anthems has been adapted into the 2019 film ''My People, My Country''.


References


External links


''China News Digest'' global timeline of the handover
{{DEFAULTSORT:Handover ceremony of Hong Kong in 1997, The 1997 in Hong Kong 1997 in international relations British Hong Kong History of Hong Kong State ritual and ceremonies