"If you were to ask them whether they were better off before the handover, the answer would probably be that things were a bit better.". He said the government had paid more attention to public opinion and traditional freedoms under British rule and that the gap between rich and poor had been narrower. "The government didn't interfere with the media; it respected Hong Kong's local culture, so people naturally gave their allegiance to the British," the user wrote. It is 20 years since Hong Kong returned to China.Now as then, there is trepidation. Nineteenth-century Britain had an insatiable appetite for Chinese tea, but the Qing Dynasty and its subjects did not want to buy anything that the British produced and demanded that the British instead pay for its tea habit with silver or gold. By 1949, the People's Liberation Army led by Mao Zedong (1893–1976) had taken over China, and the West was now afraid that Communists would get their hands on a suddenly invaluable post for espionage, especially during the Korean War. She has taught at the high school and university levels in the U.S. and South Korea. An increasing number of Hong Kong residents have said they no longer see a future for themselves in the city. The newspaper said in a blog post that the poll was unscientific and "just for fun," and that the question was carefully worded to avoid the impression that responses meant votes from the people of Hong Kong. Half a million people in Hong Kong went on marches to protest. Hong Kong, special administrative region (Pinyin: tebie xingzhengqu; Wade-Giles romanization: t’e-pieh hsing-cheng-ch’ü) of China, located to the east of the Pearl River (Zhu Jiang) estuary on the south coast of China. It was gained by the British through a series of ‘unequal’ treaties in the 1800s, but the first two parts (Hong Kong Island and … On June 9, 1898, the British signed a deal with the Chinese to lease Hong Kong, Kowloon, and the "New Territories"—the remainder of the Kowloon Peninsula north of Boundary Street, more territory beyond Kowloon into the Sham Chun River, and over 200 outlying islands. After the war Churchill decided that, despite American pressure, and the claims of Chiang Kai-shek's nationalist government in China, Hong Kong would remain a British colony. One Facebook user commented on the poll that the British had never told Hong Kong people they should be "patriotic" or that they should support the government. RFA is not responsible for the content of the postings. Many trace their roots in Hong Kong as far back as when most of the Indian subcontinent was still under British colonial rule and as a legacy of the British Empire, their nationality issues remain largely unsettled. The idea was that Hong Kong would remain as it was until 2047. What You Should Know About Unequal Treaties, The Fall of China's Qing Dynasty in 1911–1912, The History of Putonghua and Its Use Today, Conflict Theory Case Study: The Occupy Central Protests in Hong Kong, Timeline of World War II From 1939 to 1945, The Future of Hong Kong: A Hong Kong 'Belonger's' View. South Asians are part of the Hong Kong society. In 1997, the British handed Hong Kong back to China, the end of a 99-year lease and an event that was dreaded and anticipated by the residents, Chinese, English, and rest of the world. According to the declaration's terms, Hong Kong would become a special administrative region under the People's Republic of China, and it was expected to enjoy a high degree of autonomy outside of foreign and defense affairs. In this real life “East meets West” environment, Asian influence is prominent, but not overwhelming. China Urged to Stop Coal Projects Immediately, China Investment Risk Rises with Ant Group Clash, China's Export Growth May Upstage the Economy. Hong Kong If you were a British overseas territories citizen only because of your connection with Hong Kong you lost that citizenship on 30 June 1997 when sovereignty returned to China. 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At the time, Britain envisioned that it would, if necessary, be able to help maintain Hong Kong’s autonomy. Hong Kong first came under Chinese rule during the Qin Dynasty in the third century B.C., and it remained a part of the Chinese Empire for about 2,000 years. Translated and written in English by Luisetta Mudie. The territory was Britain's last substantial overseas possession. If they want to remain in the UK for a longer period or for a purpose other than as a visitor, BN(O)s have to apply for a UK visa. In 1842, under British Queen Victoria's expansionist rule, Hong Kong became known as British Hong Kong. Chinese officials have also hinted that they are unlikely to approve of full and direct elections to the Legislative Council and for the territory's chief executive by 2020, as permitted in the mini-constitution, the Basic Law. China’s rulers already revile Hong Kong’s independent streak. The island was officially ceded as a crown colony to the United Kingdom from the Qing Empire in 1842 after the First Opium War under the terms in the Treaty of Nanking. Hong Kong has been handed back to the Chinese authorities - ending more than 150 years of British control. British overseas territories citizens from Hong Kong who did not register as British nationals (overseas) and had no other nationality or citizenship on 30 June 1997 became British overseas citizens on 1 July 1997. That legally binding lease was to last 99 years. After the war Churchill decided that, despite American pressure, and the claims of Chiang Kai-shek's nationalist government in China, Hong Kong would remain a British colony. The Communist party, for example, throttled back on the promises it had made about Hong Kong… With the heavy British hand that still remains in Hong Kong, many expats feel as if it is a home away from home. The first democratic government in Hong Kong was formed in the late 1980s, consisting of functional constituencies and direct elections. He confined the British to the Canton Factories and cut off their supplies. Victoria's government decided to forcibly export opium from the British-colonized Indian subcontinent to China. While the People's Republic of China rejected the democratization of Hong Kong, the region had become enormously lucrative. Reported by Xin Lin for RFA's Mandarin Service. The retrocession is considered by some to definitively mark the end of the British Empire. "That interference is getting more and more obvious, and more and more serious.". But journalists and political analysts say that the ruling Chinese Communist Party has redoubled its ideological work efforts in the territory following mass demonstrations on July 1, 2003 against proposed anti-subversion legislation, which the government later abandoned. In 1949, although the victorious PLA had been fully prepared to march to the border and retake Hong Kong, the enclave was allowed to remain under … For this reason, many expats experience a minor culture shock upon relocating and adjust rather quickly. Kallie Szczepanski. In March 1839, he became Special Imperial Commissioner in Canton, where he ordered the foreign traders to surrender their opium stock. There were few advocates for decolonisation of Hong Kong from the British rule during the post-war period, notably Ma Man-fai and the Democratic Self-Government Party of Hong Kong in the 1960s but the fruitless movement ceased to exist without substantial support from the public. An informal online poll by a Hong Kong newspaper inspired by a recent referendum in the Falkland Islands shows that 92 percent of readers who voted think Hong Kongers would prefer a return to British rule. Many see the island territory as a feisty place corrupted by Western political thought, a legacy of its time under British rule. Thus, a system of barter based on Indian opium was created to bridge this problem of payment. China's government, not too surprisingly, objected to the large-scale importation of narcotics into its country by a foreign power. If you’re not already a British … Although British imperialism never politically took hold in mainland China, as it did in India or Africa, its cultural and political legacy is still evident today. Learn how Hong Kong has changed since then, including for travelers, and where the city might be headed. 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 ended administration for the colony of Hong Kong and returned control of the territory to China. On July 1, 1997, Hong Kong was peaceably handed over to China in a ceremony attended by numerous Chinese and British dignitaries. Declassified documents from long before handover negotiations even began show that some British officials did seek to introduce more democracy in Hong Kong … This article first appeared on the History News Network. As of the 2016 by-census, there were at least 44,744 persons of South Asian descent in Hong Kong. This is unlike mainland China, where they drive on the right. British overseas territories citizens from Hong Kong who did not register as British nationals (overseas) and had no other nationality or citizenship on 30 June 1997 became British overseas citizens on 1 July 1997. For a period of 50 years after the end of the lease, Hong Kong would remain a free port with a separate customs territory and sustain markets for free exchange. But before Hong Kong was returned, the UK and China made an agreement to introduce "one country, two systems". John Clark Ridpath / Wikimedia Commons / Public Domain. But in 1941, Japan seized Hong Kong. He did not want to damage Hong Kong’s enormous economic value, but he was prepared to weather any storm to erase the shame of the unequal treaties. Hong Kong has always had lots of British values. Hong Kong was occupied by the Japanese from 1941 to 1944 during World War II but remained in British hands throughout the various Chinese political upheavals of the 20th century. The British colony reverted to Chinese rule on June 30. reuters. Hong Kong's Future: Sino-British Negotiations, Perceptions, Organization and Political Culture, The Opium War: Drugs, Dreams, and the Making of Modern China, J.D., University of Washington School of Law, B.A., History, Western Washington University. As a result, the British were given the island of Hong Kong and trading rights in the ports of Canton and Shanghai. The poll comes shortly after comments from China's new leadership at the National People's Congress (NPC) session, calling on Hong Kong to be patriotic and to put their trust in Beijing. In 1984, British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher and Chinese Premier Zhao Ziyang negotiated the underlying plan for the lease to end, such that Hong Kong would remain a semi-autonomous region for a 50-year period after the lease ended. U.S. President Franklin Roosevelt tried to pressure British Prime Minister Winston Churchill (1874–1965) to return the island to China as a concession for its support in the war, but Churchill refused. The one country, two systems principle allows the Hong Kong government to administer all areas of government except foreign relations and (military) defence separately from the national Chinese government.Many Hong Kong citizens became concerned about democratic development when the … It was an isolated island, surrounded by areas still under Chinese control. At the time, most of Britain didn't view opium as a particular danger; to them, it was a medicine. After 1997, Hong Kong's capitalist economy and way of life - including its legal system - would remain unchanged for 50 years. The lease ended on July 1, 1997, and since then tensions between the democratically minded Hong Kong population and the People's Republic of China have continued, although Hong Kong remains functionally separate from the Chinese mainland. Hong Kong was more complicated. Anxiety over the city's political future sparked an "Occupy Central" movement in the downtown business district last year, with participants calling for universal suffrage by the next election. Chapter 18—Hong Kong 1997–2047: The Political Scene. Some things were unsatisfactory. The stability of those changes became doubtful after the Tiananmen Square incident (Beijing, China, June 3–4, 1989) when an undetermined number of protesting students were massacred. What Is Extradition? 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