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Globalisation and the Governance of Hong Kong - page 8 / 28

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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

19t h

century.

The island of

the the

peninsular of Kowloon in New Territories under the

Second Convention of

in

1997.

Following

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

was

sealed

in

1950.

Cold

war

independent Hong Kong, and the tensions resulted in Hong Kong

border being

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.

China’s

requested the removal of Hong Kong a ‘Special Committee on Colonialism’

and Macau from a on the grounds that

list

of territories

hey

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

Hong Kong.

Negotiations thus began in anticipation of the

Hong Kong, which resulted The treaty was ratified in June

in the 1985.

Joint

Declaration

between

expiry

of Britain’s

China

and Britain

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

of icials

from

looking

elsewhere

although it had occurred in the majority of the former

of for

reintegration was

guidance.

Hong

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).

there until

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

1

July

1997.

Under

1990. It document the Basic

2

For a full discussion of the unusual nature of Hong Kong’s decolonisation, see Lau (1997).

8

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