David Gray/Reuters The first Hong Kong chief executive, Tung Chee-hwa, smiles at Hong Kongs special administrative region opening, Hong Kongs official transfer of power from the British government to Beijing, July 1, 1997. Hong Kong is a Special Administrative Region of the Peoples Republic of China, which has been broadly allowed to run its affairs independently, under one country, two systems, the national unification policy devised by Chinese leader Deng Xiaoping in the 1980s. Under the one country, two systems doctrine, mainland China allowed Hong Kong to continue governing itself and to retain a number of separate systems over the course of 50 years. The 99-year lease ended in 1997, when the United Kingdom returned Hong Kong to mainland China as a special administrative region (SAR), called the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the Peoples Republic of China (HKSAR).
Cheap labour was brought in, and Hong Kong slowly recovered its pre-World War II status of being a highly wealthy, independent colony, but Hong Kong became part of Chinese territory once more on 1 July 1997, when Britain handed over the colony to the Peoples Republic of China. First, the British Empire gained control over Hong Kong Island in 1841 following their victory in the First Opium War.5 Second, the British integrated Kowloon, the region just north of Hong Kong Island, in 1860 following the Second Opium War.6 Third, China handed over 99 years of New Territories to the British in 1898.7 This year marked the start of British rule and formed Hong Kong as we know it today. First, the British Empire gained control of Hong Kong Island in 1841 after its victory in the First Opium War.5 Second, the British integrated Kowloon, an area north of Hong Kong Island, in 1860 after the Second Opium War.6 Third, China leased the New Territories to the British for 99 years in 1898.7 That year marked the beginning of British rule and shaped Hong Kong as we know Hong Kong today.4 However, Hong Kong did not really prosper as a trading hub until British rule began, after which it has continued its important role alongside mainland China in Asias markets. Hong Kong was initially controlled by the Bayyue, a Chinese tribe who had relocated to Vietnam following Emperor Qins seizure of Hong Kong in the third century BC1. This seizure was part of his campaign to unite China, which was then a collection of warring states.
Hong Kong is composed of Hong Kong Island, initially given to the British by China in 1842, southern parts of the Kowloon Peninsula and Stonecutters (Ngong Shuen) Island (now joined with mainland), given in 1860, and New Territories, comprising mainland areas lying mostly in the north, along with 230 large and small offshore islands–all leased by China for 99 years between 1898 and 1997–and New Territory, comprising a collection of military states. Hong Kong consists of Hong Kong Island, originally ceded by China to Great Britain in 1842 Great Britain, the southern part of the Kowloon Peninsula and Stonecutters (Ngong Shuen) Island (now joined to the mainland ), ceded in 1860, and the New Territories, which include the mainland area lying largely to the north, together with 230 large and small offshore islands — all of which were leased from China for 99 years from 1898 to 1997. Hong Kong is located at the southeastern tip of the Peoples Republic, about 1,200 kilometers from the next largest city, Shanghai, and almost 1,800 kilometers (800 kilometers) away. Under the Basic Law, Hong Kong shall continue as an autonomous special administrative region of the Peoples Republic of China, with its own currency, legal system, and parliamentary system.
The PRC government and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs manage diplomatic matters, but Hong Kong maintains its ability to have separate economic and cultural relations with foreign nations. Despite its separation of systems and rights guaranteed under the Basic Law, mainland China has indeed inserted itself into local Hong Kong politics. Multinational corporations and banks–many of which have regional headquarters in Hong Kong–have historically used Hong Kongs location as a gateway for doing business with Beijing, partly because of its proximity to the worlds second-largest economy and a legal system grounded in British common law.
Having fled Beijings repression inside its borders, Hong Kongers are paradoxically viewed with suspicion on Taiwans part over potential links with Beijings. A review of 13 cases involving Hong Kongers who had applications to live permanently or temporarily denied found the applicants were all rejected because they had links to China. The more restrictive approach began in August 2020, when the Interior Ministry began to demand additional reviews of applications for residence for ex-residents from Hong Kong and Macao who had served in Chinese government institutions, been born in Beijing, or worked in organizations that had investments by Chinese government entities.
The PRCs implementation of national security laws for Hong Kong in June 2020 led to bilateral extradition treaties being suspended from Britain, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Finland, and Ireland. Fifty-three countries–most of them participating in infrastructure projects under Beijings Belt and Road–signed a statement reading in July 2020 to the Legislative Council supporting the Basic Law for Hong Kong, whereas only twenty-seven countries signed a counter-statement critical of it. Sympathy toward Hong Kong is muted by anxieties over mass migration to Taiwan, where 24 million people compete for scarce jobs and housing, as well as pockets of long-standing bias toward migrants coming from Beijing.
Seeing the rift of Hong Kongs individualism from Chinas Confucianism, this article suggests that a cultural identity detachment from the national frame poses difficulties in forging cordial relations between Hong Kong and mainland China. The territory has been separated from the Peoples Republic of China by a lengthy period of colonial rule and different rates of economic, social, and cultural development.