Fifty-three countries–most of them involved in infrastructure projects along the Beijings BRI–signed statements before the Legislative Council in July 2020 supporting Hong Kongs Basic Law, whereas just twenty-seven countries signed statements opposing it. The central Chinese governments recent efforts to expand its powers over Hong Kong, under the notion of the one-country, two-systems, has drawn condemnation from both residents of Hong Kong and some voices within the international community. Hong Kong is a special administrative region of the Peoples Republic of China, which has been broadly allowed to run Hong Kongs affairs independently, under one country, two systems, the national unification policy developed by Chinese leader Deng Xiaoping in the 1980s.
Hong Kong is not an independent nation, but is instead a Special Administrative Region of the Peoples Republic of China, whereby the territory is supposed to be autonomous with regard to its political governance and the way in which it runs its economy. With the Hong Kong Handover, the Hong Kong Colony became the Special Administrative Region of Hong Kong (SAR) and is officially a part of the Peoples Republic of China. The Central 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. The PRC allows Hong Kong to participate as a member-at-large in some intergovernmental bodies, such as the Asian Development Bank and the World Health Organization; and to engage in some commercial-related agreements as the Hong Kong, China.
As promised, mainland China has respected the territories autonomy in its domestic affairs, including economic policies. Even during periods of fraught diplomatic relations, the economic links between mainland China and the PRC remained strong. The territories diverged from the PRC during their prolonged periods under colonial rule, as well as their differing rates of economic, social, and cultural development. Its population quickly rebounded following the war, as skilled Chinese migrants fled the Chinese Civil War, and as the Communist Party of China took over mainland China in 1949, an even larger number of refugees crossed its borders.
In 1839, the British invaded China in order to suppress opposition to their meddling in the countrys economy, society, and politics. Following the Second Opium War (1856-1860), the Chinese ceded more territory, the Kowloon Peninsula, to the British Empire. Hong Kong is composed of Hong Kong Island, initially ceded to Great Britain in 1842 by China, southern parts of the Kowloon Peninsula and Stonecutters (Ngong Shuen) Island (now joined with mainland), ceded 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. Mainland China is governed by the Communist Party of China, which has jurisdiction over 22 provinces, five self-governing regions, four directly controlled municipalities, and the SARs of Hong Kong and Macau.
The UK Basic Law means Hong Kong will keep its currency (the Hong Kong dollar), legal system, and parliamentary system for fifty years — the term ends in 2047. The Chinese Central Government promises, The present Hong Kong social and economic system will be preserved, as well as its lifestyle, for fifty years.1 Hong Kong and its residents will maintain political freedoms and market economies.
Today, however, one nations long-term prospects remain uncertain because of Beijings increasingly assertive assertiveness over control and influence over Hong Kong. Despite remaining, Chinas central governments interests in ensuring the rule of law essential for a global financial center, in enforcing its international commitments, and in maintaining a stable Taiwan question, will guarantee One Countrys longevity until, and perhaps beyond, 2047. Much as in the late colonial era, the need for stability by the business community is critical for Hong Kongs economic health.6 The expiration of 1C2S has already created challenges to property rights and mortgages, to the payment of loans, and to bond issues.7 A sudden or radical change to 1C2S, or the loss of confidence by the community in Hong Kongs governance structures, may cause a shake-up in Hong Kongs economy and financial markets, could send both the Hong Kong economy and the Chinese central governments, may cause a shake-up in the economy.
Much like at the end of the colonial era, the business communitys need for stability is key to Hong Kongs economic health.6 The expiration of 1C2S already engenders problems for property rights and mortgages, loan repayments, and bond issuance.7 A sudden or drastic change to 1C2S, or the communitys loss of faith in Hong Kongs governing structure, could throw the economy and financial markets both in Hong Kong and Chinas central government into flux. It is merely logical that Hong Kongs industrialists would go on building up labor-intensive, labor-intensive industries, in a country with its easy access to minerals, cheap labour, and an abundance of land. Hong Kong is also a large services economy, particularly strongly linked with mainland China and the rest of the Asia-Pacific. 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 based on British common law.
David Gray/Reuters The first Hong Kong chief executive, Tung Chee-hwa, smiles during Hong Kongs special administrative regions inauguration, Hong Kongs formal transfer of power from the British government to China, July 1, 1997. The passage of the Basic Law was critical to Hong Kongs transition, since Hong Kong had enjoyed high levels of autonomy under colonial rule, and Hong Kongs capitalist economy, rule of law, and lifestyle were a world away from Communist rule in China.