territory was formally ceded to Britain from China in Hong Kong became a British colony in 1843, followed 1860. However, it was the expiry of the 99-year lease
the by on
The island of
peninsular of Kowloon in New Territories under the
Second Convention of
Peking that resulted in the reunification of Hong Kong with China the establishment of the People’s Republic of China in 1949, the
Chinese opposed the notion of an
independent Hong Kong, and the tensions resulted in Hong Kong
with China deliberately
transformed into a free-market port by Britain. However, that decolonisation was not preparation for independence sovereign state, the People’s Republic of China.2
Hong Kong is an anomaly in but reintegration with another
China’s restraint over reclaiming the territory of Hong Kong during the post-war
period finally representative supervised by
gave way when China joined the United Nations (UN) in 1972.
requested the removal of Hong Kong a ‘Special Committee on Colonialism’
and Macau from a on the grounds that
were part of
China (Miners in 1997 began
1991: 6). In addition, the expiry of Britain’s lease on the New Territories to loom and in 1982 Britain decided to press China to clarify a policy on
Negotiations thus began in anticipation of the
Hong Kong, which resulted The treaty was ratified in June
in the 1985.
leases in of 1984.
Hong Kong was returned to China at midnight, 1 July 1997. As Britain had been long aware of the inite nature of its lease on Hong Kong, the transfer of Westminster-
style governance British colonies.
was prevented The prospect
although it had occurred in the majority of the former
without precedence and prevented Kong was also exceptional in that
following the wave of post-war independence in other Commonwealth countries; were no moves in Hong Kong towards elections and internal self-government relatively recently (Miners 1991: 22).
Effectively, the constitution of the Hong Kong is the document known as ‘The
Basic Law’ and was adopted by the Seventh National guarantees the maintenance of the existing system for at replaced the former colonial constitutional documents on
People’s Congress in least fifty years. This
1990. It document the Basic
For a full discussion of the unusual nature of Hong Kong’s decolonisation, see Lau (1997).