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Hong Kong ceded to the British

Hong Kong ceded to the British


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During the First Opium War, China cedes the island of Hong Kong to the British with the signing of the Chuenpi Convention, an agreement seeking an end to the first Anglo-Chinese conflict.

In 1839, Britain invaded China to crush opposition to its interference in the country’s economic and political affairs. One of Britain’s first acts of the war was to occupy Hong Kong, a sparsely inhabited island off the coast of southeast China. In 1841, China ceded the island to the British, and in 1842 the Treaty of Nanking was signed, formally ending the First Opium War.

READ MORE: How Hong Kong Came Under 'One Country, Two Systems'

Britain’s new colony flourished as an East-West trading center and as the commercial gateway and distribution center for southern China. In 1898, Britain was granted an additional 99 years of rule over Hong Kong under the Second Convention of Peking. In September 1984, after years of negotiations, the British and the Chinese signed a formal agreement approving the 1997 turnover of the island in exchange for a Chinese pledge to preserve Hong Kong’s capitalist system.

On July 1, 1997, Hong Kong was peaceably handed over to China in a ceremony attended by numerous Chinese and British dignitaries. The chief executive under the new Hong Kong government, Tung Chee Hwa, formulated a policy based upon the concept of “one country, two systems,” thus preserving Hong Kong’s role as a principal capitalist center in Asia.


History of Hong Kong (1800s–1930s)

Hong Kong (1800s–1930s) oversaw the founding of the new crown colony of Hong Kong under the British Empire. [1] After the First Opium War, the territory was ceded by the Qing Empire to the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland through Treaty of Nanjing (1842) and Convention of Peking (1860) in perpetuity, with additional land was leased to the British under the Convention for the Extension of Hong Kong Territory (1898), Hong Kong became one of the first parts of East Asia to undergo industrialisation.


Contents

By the 1820s and 1830s, the British had conquered parts of India and had intentions of growing cotton in these lands to offset the amount of cotton they were buying from America. [ citation needed ] When this endeavour failed, the British realised they could grow poppies at an incredible rate. These poppies could then be turned into opium, which the Chinese highly desired, but their laws prohibited. So the British plan was to grow poppies in India, convert it into opium, smuggle the opium in China and trade it for tea, and sell the tea back in Britain. The illegal opium trade was highly successful, and the drug was very profitably smuggled into China in extremely large volumes. [4]

The United Kingdom obtained control over portions of Hong Kong's territory through three treaties concluded with Qing China after the Opium Wars:

  • 1842 Treaty of Nanking: Hong Kong Island ceded in perpetuity
  • 1860 Convention of Peking: Kowloon Peninsula and Stonecutter's Island additionally ceded
  • 1898 Convention for the Extension of Hong Kong Territory: the New Territories and outlying islands leased for 99 years until 1997

Despite the finite nature of the New Territories lease, this portion of the colony was developed just as rapidly as, and became highly integrated with, the rest of Hong Kong. As the end of the lease approached, and by the time of serious negotiations over the future status of Hong Kong in the 1980s, it was thought impractical to separate the ceded territories and return only the New Territories to China. In addition, with the scarcity of land and natural resources in Hong Kong Island and Kowloon, large-scale infrastructure investments had been made in the New Territories, with break-evens lying well past 30 June 1997. [5]

When the People's Republic of China obtained its seat in the United Nations as a result of the UN General Assembly Resolution 2758 in 1971, it began to act diplomatically on its previously lost sovereignty over both Hong Kong and Macau. In March 1972, the Chinese UN representative, Huang Hua, wrote to the United Nations Decolonization Committee to state the position of the Chinese government:

"The questions of Hong Kong and Macau belong to the category of questions resulting from the series of unequal treaties which the imperialists imposed on China. Hong Kong and Macau are part of Chinese territory occupied by the British and Portuguese authorities. The settlement of the questions of Hong Kong and Macau is entirely within China's sovereign right and do not at all fall under the ordinary category of colonial territories. Consequently, they should not be included in the list of colonial territories covered by the declaration on the granting of independence to colonial territories and people. With regard to the questions of Hong Kong and Macau, the Chinese government has consistently held that they should be settled in an appropriate way when conditions are ripe." [6]

The same year, on 8 November, the United Nations General Assembly passed the resolution on removing Hong Kong and Macau from the official list of colonies. [6]

In March 1979 the Governor of Hong Kong, Murray MacLehose, paid his first official visit to the People's Republic of China (PRC), taking the initiative to raise the question of Hong Kong's sovereignty with Deng Xiaoping. [7] Without clarifying and establishing the official position of the PRC government, the arranging of real estate leases and loans agreements in Hong Kong within the next 18 years would become difficult. [5]

In response to concerns over land leases in the New Territories, MacLehose proposed that British administration of the whole of Hong Kong, as opposed to sovereignty, be allowed to continue after 1997. [8] He also proposed that contracts include the phrase "for so long as the Crown administers the territory". [9]

In fact, as early as the mid-1970s, Hong Kong had faced additional risks raising loans for large-scale infrastructure projects such as its Mass Transit Railway (MTR) system and a new airport. Caught unprepared, Deng asserted the necessity of Hong Kong's return to China, upon which Hong Kong would be given special status by the PRC government.

MacLehose's visit to the PRC raised the curtain on the issue of Hong Kong's sovereignty: Britain was made aware of the PRC's intent to resume sovereignty over Hong Kong, and began to make arrangements accordingly to ensure the sustenance of her interests within the territory, as well as initiating the creation of a withdrawal plan in case of emergency.

Three years later, Deng received the former British Prime Minister Edward Heath, who had been dispatched as the special envoy of Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher to establish an understanding of the PRC's plans with regards to the retrocession of Hong Kong during their meeting, Deng outlined his plans to make the territory a special economic zone, which would retain its capitalist system under Chinese sovereignty. [10]

In the same year, Edward Youde, who succeeded MacLehose as the 26th Governor of Hong Kong, led a delegation of five Executive Councillors to London, including Chung Sze-yuen, Lydia Dunn, and Roger Lobo. [11] Chung presented their position on the sovereignty of Hong Kong to Thatcher, encouraging her to take into consideration the interests of the native Hong Kong population in her upcoming visit to China. [11]

In light of the increasing openness of the PRC government and economic reforms on the mainland, the then British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher sought the PRC's agreement to a continued British presence in the territory. [12]

However, the PRC took a contrary position: not only did the PRC wish for the New Territories, on lease until 1997, to be placed under the PRC's jurisdiction, it also refused to recognise the onerous "unfair and unequal treaties" under which Hong Kong Island and Kowloon had been ceded to Britain in perpetuity after the Opium Wars. Consequently, the PRC recognised only the British administration in Hong Kong, but not British sovereignty. [13]

  • 29 March 1979: Sir Murray MacLehose met paramount leader Deng Xiaoping and raised the issue of Hong Kong for the first time. Deng remarked that the investors could set their minds at peace.
  • 4 April 1979: The Kowloon–Canton through-train routes were restored after 30 years of non-service.
  • 3 May 1979: The Conservative Party won the U.K. election.
  • 29 October 1979: Premier Hua Guofeng visited Britain and had a meeting with British prime minister Margaret Thatcher. Both of them expressed their concern to maintain the stability and prosperity of Hong Kong.
  • 12 May 1980: Tabled by the Conservative Party in the British government, a new status "British Overseas Territories citizen" was introduced. This status proposal was widely opposed by Hong Kong people.
  • 3 April 1981: Foreign Secretary Lord Carrington met Deng Xiaoping in his visit to Beijing.
  • 30 September 1981: Chairman of the NPCYe Jianying issued nine guiding principles concerning a peaceful reunification of Taiwan and mainland China.
  • 30 October 1981: The House of Commons passed the new British Nationality Act.
  • November 1981: The Beijing government invited some Hong Kong citizens to help organising a united front in the handling of the Hong Kong issue.
  • 6 January 1982: Chinese Premier Zhao Ziyang received Lord Privy Seal Humphrey Atkins. Zhao insisted that the PRC would uphold its sovereignty over Hong Kong.
  • 10 March 1982: Vice Premier Gu Mu received Sir John Bremridge, promising to maintain Hong Kong's stability and prosperity.
  • 6 April 1982: Deng Xiaoping revealed his wish to have official contact with the British government.
  • 8 May 1982: Sir Edward Youde arrived as the 26th Governor of Hong Kong.
  • May 1982: Deng Xiaoping and Zhao Ziyang collected advice from Hong Kong notables such as Li Ka-shing and Ann Tse-kei.
  • 15 June 1982: Deng Xiaoping officially announced the position of the Chinese government in the context of the Hong Kong 97 Issue, marking the first public statement on part of the PRC with regards to the issue.

Before the negotiations Edit

In the wake of Governor MacLehose's visit, Britain and the PRC established initial diplomatic contact for further discussions of the Hong Kong question, paving the way for Thatcher's first visit to the PRC in September 1982. [14]

Margaret Thatcher, in discussion with Deng Xiaoping, reiterated the validity of an extension of the lease of Hong Kong territory, particularly in light of binding treaties, including the Treaty of Nanking in 1842, the Convention of Peking in 1856, and the Convention for the Extension of Hong Kong Territory signed in 1890.

In response, Deng Xiaoping cited clearly the lack of room for compromise on the question of sovereignty over Hong Kong the PRC, as the successor of Qing dynasty and the Republic of China on the mainland, would recover the entirety of the New Territories, Kowloon and Hong Kong Island. China considered treaties about Hong Kong as unequal and ultimately refused to accept any outcome that would indicate permanent loss of sovereignty over Hong Kong's area, whatever wording the former treaties had. [15]

During talks with Thatcher, China planned to seize Hong Kong if the negotiations set off unrest in the colony. Thatcher later said that Deng told her bluntly that China could easily take Hong Kong by force, stating that "I could walk in and take the whole lot this afternoon", to which she replied that "there is nothing I could do to stop you, but the eyes of the world would now know what China is like". [16]

After her visit with Deng in Beijing, Thatcher was received in Hong Kong as the first British Prime Minister to set foot on the territory whilst in office. At a press conference, Thatcher re-emphasised the validity of the three treaties, asserting the need for countries to respect treaties on universal terms: "There are three treaties in existence we stick by our treaties unless we decide on something else. At the moment, we stick by our treaties." [12]

At the same time, at the 5th session of the 5th National People's Congress, the constitution was amended to include a new Article 31 which stated that the country might establish Special Administrative Regions (SARs) when necessary. [17]

The additional Article would hold tremendous significance in settling the question of Hong Kong and later Macau, putting into social consciousness the concept of "One country, two systems".

Negotiations begin Edit

A few months after Thatcher's visit to Beijing, the PRC government had yet to open negotiations with the British government regarding the sovereignty of Hong Kong.

Shortly before the initiation of sovereignty talks, Governor Youde declared his intention to represent the population of Hong Kong at the negotiations. This statement sparked a strong response from the PRC, prompting Deng Xiaoping to denounce talk of "the so-called 'three-legged stool'", which implied that Hong Kong was a party to talks on its future, alongside Beijing and London. [18]

At the preliminary stage of the talks, the British government proposed an exchange of sovereignty for administration and the implementation of a British administration post-handover. [12]

The PRC government refused, contending that the notions of sovereignty and administration were inseparable, and although it recognised Macau as a "Chinese territory under Portuguese administration", this was only temporary. [19]

In fact, during informal exchanges between 1979 and 1981, the PRC had proposed a "Macau solution" in Hong Kong, under which it would remain under British administration at China's discretion. [7]

However, this had previously been rejected following the 1967 Leftist riots, with the then Governor, David Trench, claiming the leftists' aim was to leave the UK without effective control, or "to Macau us". [20]

The conflict that arose at that point of the negotiations ended the possibility of further negotiation. During the reception of former British Prime Minister Edward Heath during his sixth visit to the PRC, Deng Xiaoping commented quite clearly on the impossibility of exchanging sovereignty for administration, declaring an ultimatum: the British government must modify or give up its position or the PRC will announce its resolution of the issue of Hong Kong sovereignty unilaterally. [21]

In 1983, Typhoon Ellen ravaged Hong Kong, causing great amounts of damage to both life and property. [22] The Hong Kong dollar plummeted on Black Saturday, and the Financial Secretary John Bremridge publicly associated the economic uncertainty with the instability of the political climate. [23] In response, the PRC government condemned Britain through the press for "playing the economic card" in order to achieve their ends: to intimidate the PRC into conceding to British demands. [24]

British concession Edit

Governor Youde with nine members of the Hong Kong Executive Council travelled to London to discuss with Prime Minister Thatcher the crisis of confidence—the problem with morale among the people of Hong Kong arising from the ruination of the Sino-British talks. The session concluded with Thatcher's writing of a letter addressed to the PRC Premier Zhao Ziyang.

In the letter, she expressed Britain's willingness to explore arrangements optimising the future prospects of Hong Kong while utilising the PRC's proposals as a foundation. Furthermore, and perhaps most significantly, she expressed Britain's concession on its position of a continued British presence in the form of an administration post-handover.

Two rounds of negotiations were held in October and November. On the sixth round of talks in November, Britain formally conceded its intentions of either maintaining a British administration in Hong Kong or seeking some form of co-administration with the PRC, and showed its sincerity in discussing PRC's proposal on the 1997 issue. Obstacles were cleared.

Simon Keswick, chairman of Jardine Matheson & Co., said they were not pulling out of Hong Kong, but a new holding company would be established in Bermuda instead. [25] The PRC took this as yet another plot by the British. The Hong Kong government explained that it had been informed about the move only a few days before the announcement. The government would not and could not stop the company from making a business decision.

Just as the atmosphere of the talks was becoming cordial, members of the Legislative Council of Hong Kong felt impatient at the long-running secrecy over the progress of Sino-British talks on the Hong Kong issue. A motion, tabled by legislator Roger Lobo, declared "This Council deems it essential that any proposals for the future of Hong Kong should be debated in this Council before agreement is reached", was passed unanimously. [26]

The PRC attacked the motion furiously, referring to it as "somebody's attempt to play the three-legged stool trick again". [27] At length, the PRC and Britain initiated the Joint Declaration on the question of Hong Kong's future in Beijing. Zhou Nan, the then PRC Deputy Foreign Minister and leader of the negotiation team, and Sir Richard Evans, British Ambassador to Beijing and leader of the team, signed respectively on behalf of the two governments. [28]

The Sino-British Joint Declaration was signed by the Prime Ministers of the People's Republic of China and the United Kingdom governments on 19 December 1984 in Beijing. The Declaration entered into force with the exchange of instruments of ratification on 27 May 1985 and was registered by the People's Republic of China and United Kingdom governments at the United Nations on 12 June 1985.

In the Joint Declaration, the People's Republic of China Government stated that it had decided to resume the exercise of sovereignty over Hong Kong (including Hong Kong Island, Kowloon, and the New Territories) with effect from 1 July 1997 and the United Kingdom Government declared that it would restore Hong Kong to the PRC with effect from 1 July 1997. In the document, the People's Republic of China Government also declared its basic policies regarding Hong Kong.

In accordance with the "One country, two systems" principle agreed between the United Kingdom and the People's Republic of China, [ citation needed ] the socialist system of the People's Republic of China would not be practised in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR), and Hong Kong's previous capitalist system and its way of life would remain unchanged for a period of 50 years. This would have left Hong Kong unchanged until 2047.

The Joint Declaration provided that these basic policies should be stipulated in the Hong Kong Basic Law. The ceremony of the signing of the Sino-British Joint Declaration took place at 18:00, 19 December 1984 at the Western Main Chamber of the Great Hall of the People. The Hong Kong and Macao Affairs Office at first proposed a list of 60–80 Hong Kong people to attend the ceremony. The number was finally extended to 101.

The list included Hong Kong government officials, members of the Legislative and Executive Councils, chairmen of the Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation and Standard Chartered Bank, prominent businessmen such as Li Ka-shing, Pao Yue-kong and Fok Ying-tung, and also Martin Lee Chu-ming and Szeto Wah.

Universal suffrage Edit

The Hong Kong Basic Law ensured, among other things, that Hong Kong will retain its legislative system, and people's rights and freedom for fifty years, [ citation needed ] as a special administrative region (SAR) of China. The central government in Beijing maintains control over Hong Kong's foreign affairs as well as the legal interpretation of the Basic Law. The latter has led democracy advocates and some Hong Kong residents to argue, after the fact, that the territory has yet to achieve universal suffrage as promised by the Basic Law, leading to mass demonstrations in 2014. [29] [30] [31] In 2019, demonstrations that started as a protest against an extradition law also led to massive demonstrations (1.7 million on 11 and 18 August 2019), again demanding universal suffrage, but also the resignation of Carrie Lam (the current Chief Executive). [32]

The Basic Law was drafted by a Drafting Committee composed of members from both Hong Kong and Mainland China. A Basic Law Consultative Committee formed purely by Hong Kong people was established in 1985 to canvas views in Hong Kong on the drafts.

The first draft was published in April 1988, followed by a five-month public consultation exercise. The second draft was published in February 1989, and the subsequent consultation period ended in October 1989.

The Basic Law was formally promulgated on 4 April 1990 by the NPC, together with the designs for the flag and emblem of the HKSAR. Some members of the Basic Law drafting committee were ousted by Beijing following 4 June 1989 Tiananmen Square protests, after voicing views supporting the student protesters.

The Basic Law was said to be a mini-constitution drafted with the participation of Hong Kong people. The political system had been the most controversial issue in the drafting of the Basic Law. The special issue sub-group adopted the political model put forward by Louis Cha. This "mainstream" proposal was criticised for being too conservative. [ citation needed ]

According to Clauses 158 and 159 of the Basic Law, powers of interpretation and amendment of the Basic Law are vested in the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress and the National People's Congress, respectively. Hong Kong's people have limited influence.

After the Tiananmen Square protests of 1989, the Executive Councillors and the Legislative Councillors of Hong Kong unexpectedly held an urgent meeting, in which they agreed unanimously that the British Government should give the people of Hong Kong the right of abode in the United Kingdom. [33]

More than 10,000 Hong Kong residents rushed to Central in order to get an application form for residency in the United Kingdom. On the eve of the deadline, over 100,000 lined up overnight for a British National (Overseas) application form. While mass migration began well before 1989, the event led to the peak migration year in 1992 with 66,000 leaving. [34]

Many citizens were pessimistic towards the future of Hong Kong and the transfer of the region's sovereignty. A tide of emigration, which was to last for no less than five years, broke out. At its peak, citizenship of small countries, such as Tonga, was also in great demand. [35]

Singapore, which also had a predominantly Chinese population, was another popular destination, with the country's Commission (now Consulate-General) being besieged by anxious Hong Kong residents. [36] By September 1989, 6000 applications for residency in Singapore had been approved by the commission. [37] Some consul staff were suspended or arrested for their corrupt behaviour in granting immigration visas.

In April 1997, the acting immigration officer at the US Consulate-General, James DeBates, was suspended after his wife was arrested for the smuggling of Chinese migrants into the United States. [38] The previous year, his predecessor, Jerry Stuchiner, had been arrested for smuggling forged Honduran passports into the territory before being sentenced to 40 months in prison. [39]

Canada (Vancouver and Toronto), the United Kingdom (London, Glasgow, and Manchester), Australia (Perth, Sydney and Melbourne), and the United States (San Francisco, New York, and Los Angeles’s San Gabriel Valley) were, by and large, the most popular destinations. The United Kingdom devised the British Nationality Selection Scheme, granting 50,000 families British citizenship under the British Nationality Act (Hong Kong) 1990. [40]

Vancouver was among the most popular destinations, earning the nickname of "Hongcouver". [41] Richmond, a suburb of Vancouver, was nicknamed "Little Hong Kong". [42] All in all, from the start of the settlement of the negotiation in 1984 to 1997, nearly 1 million people emigrated consequently, Hong Kong suffered serious loss of human and financial capital. [43]

Chris Patten became the last governor of Hong Kong. This was regarded as a turning point in Hong Kong's history. Unlike his predecessors, Patten was not a diplomat, but a career politician and former Member of Parliament. He introduced democratic reforms which pushed PRC–British relations to a standstill and affected the negotiations for a smooth handover.

Patten introduced a package of electoral reforms in the Legislative Council. These reforms proposed to enlarge the electorate, thus making voting in the Legislative Council more democratic. This move posed significant changes because Hong Kong citizens would have the power to make decisions regarding their future.

The handover ceremony was held at the new wing of the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre in Wan Chai on the night of 30 June 1997.

The principal British guest was Prince Charles, who read a farewell speech on behalf of the Queen. The newly elected Labour Prime Minister, Tony Blair, the Foreign Secretary Robin Cook, the departing Governor Chris Patten and General Sir Charles Guthrie, Chief of the Defence Staff, also attended.

Representing the People's Republic of China were the President, Jiang Zemin, the Premier, Li Peng, and the first chief executive Tung Chee-hwa. The event was broadcast around the world. [44] [45]

Before and after handover Edit

  1. English continued as an official language and is still taught in all schools. However, many schools teach in Cantonese in parallel with Mandarin and English. [46]
  2. The border with the mainland, while now known as the boundary, continued to be patrolled as before, with separate immigration and customs controls. [47] were still required to apply for a Mainland Travel Permit, in order to visit mainland China. [48]
  3. Residents of mainland China still did not have the right of abode in Hong Kong. [49] Instead, they had to apply for a permit to visit or settle in Hong Kong from the PRC government. [50]
  4. Hong Kong remained a common law jurisdiction, with a separate legal system from that used in the mainland, with previous laws remaining in force provided that they did not conflict with the Basic Law. [51]
  5. The Hong Kong dollar continued to be used as its sole currency, and the responsibility of the Hong Kong Monetary Authority. [52] The Bank of China had already started issuing banknotes in 1994. [53]
  6. Hong Kong continued to operate as a separate customs territory from mainland China under Article 116 of the Basic Law. [54]
  7. Hong Kong remained an individual member of various international organisations, such as the World Trade Organization and APEC. [55]
  8. Hong Kong, which remained an individual member of the International Olympic Committee, continued to send its own team to international sporting events such as the Olympics. [56]
  9. Hong Kong maintained Hong Kong Economic and Trade Offices overseas, as well as in the Greater China Region. These include the offices in London, Washington D.C., Brussels and Geneva, previously known as Hong Kong Government Offices. [57]
  10. Many countries' consulates-general in Hong Kong remained outside the jurisdiction of their embassies in Beijing, such as the United States Consulate General, which reports directly to the Department of State. [58]
  11. The Chung Hwa Travel Service, which functioned as Taiwan's de facto mission in Hong Kong, continued to function as before, issuing visas to visitors from Hong Kong, mainland China and other countries. [59] In 2011 it was renamed the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in Hong Kong. [60]
  12. Hong Kong continued to negotiate and maintain its own aviation bilateral treaties with foreign countries and territories. [61] Agreements with Taiwan signed in 1996 remained in force after the change of sovereignty, and were replaced by "the air transportation agreement between Taiwan and Hong Kong", which retained international regulations, such as regulations on customs. [62]
  13. Signs (and fonts), labels, and roadway construction standards on Hong Kong roads and expressways continue to follow the European Union roadway standards, particularly those of the UK. [63]
  14. Hong Kong continued to drive on the left, unlike Mainland China, which drives on the right. [64]Vehicle registration plates continued to be modelled on those of the United Kingdom, white on the front and yellow on the back, with the vehicle registration mark in a similar font. [65]
  15. Hong Kong-registered vehicles still required special cross-border plates to travel to and from mainland China, similar to those of Guangdong. [66] Vehicles registered in the mainland can enter Hong Kong under the Hong Kong mainland China driving scheme. [67] continued to have easier access to many countries, including those in Europe and North America, with Hong Kong SAR passport holders having visa-free access to 154 other countries and territories. [68]
  16. Many former colonial citizens could still use British National (Overseas) and British citizen passports after 1997. (See: British nationality law and Hong Kong)
  17. It continued to have more political freedoms than mainland China, with the holding of demonstrations and the annual memorial to commemorate the Tiananmen Square protests of 1989 continuing to be held in Victoria Park. [69]
  18. It continued to have a multi-party political system. [70] This is separate from the Communist-led United Front on the mainland. [71]
  19. It continued to have more freedom of the press than mainland China, under Article 27 of the Basic Law, despite the growing influence of Beijing. [72]
  20. It also continued to have more religious freedoms, with the Roman Catholic Diocese of Hong Kong remaining under the jurisdiction of the Holy See, instead of the Chinese Patriotic Catholic Association on the mainland. [73] The Falun Gong spiritual practice also remained legal in Hong Kong, despite encountering opposition from the SAR government. [74]
  21. Many other technical standards from the United Kingdom, such as electrical plugs (BS 1363) are still used in Hong Kong. [75] However, telephone companies changed from installing UK-styleBS 6312 telephone sockets to installing US-styleRJ11 ones. [76] Hong Kong also adopted the digital TV standard devised in mainland China for TV transmissions, instead of DVB-T, to replace PAL-I. [77] (See: Technical standards in Hong Kong)
  22. Hong Kong retained a separate international dialling code (852) and telephone numbering plan from that of the mainland. [78] Calls between Hong Kong and the mainland still required international dialling. [79]
  23. Hong Kong retained a separate ISO 3166 code, HK. [80] It also retained a top-level domain, .hk. [81] However, the Chinese code CN-91 was also used. [82]
  24. Hong Kong retained its own separate postal services, with Hongkong Post operating separately from China Post. Hong Kong was not made part of the Chinese postcode system, nor did it introduce a postcode system of its own. [83]
  25. The Hong Kong government continued to make a subvention to the English Schools Foundation, responsible for English-medium schools, which would not be phased out until 2016. [84]
  26. The former British military drill, marching and words of command in English continued in all disciplinary services including all civil organisations. [85] The PLA soldiers of the Chinese Garrison in Hong Kong have their own drills and Mandarin words of command.
  27. Statues of British monarchs remained. Queen Victoria's statue remains in Victoria Park. [86]King George VI's statue similarly remained in Hong Kong Zoological and Botanical Gardens. [87]
  28. British-inspired road names remain unchanged. [88]
  1. From 2012, secondary education moved away from the English model of five years secondary schooling plus two years of university matriculation to the Chinese model of three years of junior secondary plus another three years of senior secondary, while university education was extended from three years to four. [89]
  2. The chief executive became the head of government, elected by a Selection Committee, whose members were mainly elected from among professional sectors and business leaders. [90] The Governor was appointed by the United Kingdom. [91]
  3. The Legislative Council, elected in 1995, was dissolved and replaced by a Provisional Legislative Council, before elections were held to a new Council, in which only 20 out of 60 seats were directly elected. [92] The decision to dissolve the Legislative Council and replace it with a Provisional Legislative Council was criticised by representatives of the UK government. [93]
  4. Foreign nationals were not allowed to stand for directly elected seats in the Legislative Council, only for indirectly elected seats. [94]
  5. All public office buildings now flew the flags of the PRC and the Hong Kong SAR. The Union Flag now flew only outside the British Consulate-General and other British premises.
  6. The British national anthem God Save the Queen, was no longer played after closedown on television stations. [95] The Chinese national anthem, March of the Volunteers was now played instead. [96]
  7. At international sporting events such as the Olympics, Hong Kong was now known as Hong Kong, China. [56] Hong Kong athletes and teams compete under the Hong Kong SAR flag instead of the British flag of Hong Kong, and gold medallists were honoured with the Chinese national anthem, instead of the British national anthem. [97]
  8. The Court of Final Appeal replaced the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council as the highest court of appeal. [98]
  9. The Supreme Court was replaced by the High Court. [99]
  10. The Attorney General was replaced by the Secretary for Justice. [100]
  11. The Central People's Government was now formally represented in Hong Kong by a Liaison Office, dealing with domestic matters. [101] This had been established under British rule as the Xinhua News Agency Hong Kong Branch, before it adopted its present name in 2000. [102]
  12. The Hong Kong SAR Government was now formally represented in Beijing by the Office of the Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region. [103]
  13. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the People's Republic of China was represented in Hong Kong by a Commissioner. [104]
  14. The People's Liberation Army established a Garrison, taking over responsibility for defence from British Forces Overseas Hong Kong. [105] The Prince of Wales Building was renamed the Chinese People's Liberation Army Forces Hong Kong Building, while the Prince of Wales Barracks was similarly renamed the Central Barracks, with effect from January 2002. [106]
  15. Flags were no longer flown at the Cenotaph to remember the war dead previously British troops raised flags representing the British Army, Royal Navy and Royal Air Force every morning, lowering them again before sunset. [107] was not used as the residence of the first chief executive, Tung Chee-hwa. [108] However, his successor, Donald Tsang, moved into the compound in 2006. [109] 's portrait was removed from public offices. [110] Coins issued since 1993 no longer had the Queen's head, instead having the Bauhinia. [111]
  16. Postage stamps now displayed the words "Hong Kong, China". [112] A set of definitive stamps, bearing the words "Hong Kong" with no connotation of sovereignty, was introduced in January 1997. [113]
  17. The "Royal" title was dropped from almost all organisations that had been granted it, with the exception of the Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club. [110]
  18. The Crown was removed from the crest of the Hong Kong Police Force, and replaced by the Bauhinia. [110]
  19. Legal references to the "Crown" were replaced by references to the "State". [114]Barristers who had been appointed Queen's Counsel would now be known as Senior Counsel. [115]
  20. The British honours system was replaced by a local system, in which the Grand Bauhinia Medal was the highest award. [116] changed, with British-inspired occasions, such as the Queen's Official Birthday, Liberation Day, and Remembrance Day being replaced by PRC National Day and Hong Kong SAR Establishment Day. [88]Double Ten Day, commemorating the establishment of the Republic of China, was abolished as a public holiday in 1950. [117]
  21. Many of the red Royal Mailpillar boxes were removed from the streets of Hong Kong and replaced by green Hongkong Post boxes. [108] All others were re-painted. [118]
  22. British citizens (without right of abode in Hong Kong) were no longer able to work in Hong Kong without a visa the policy was changed on 1 April 1997. [119][120]
  23. The United Kingdom was now represented by the British Consulate-General, which reports directly to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. [121] This has responsibility for British citizens, instead of the Hong Kong Immigration Department. [122] Previously, the country's commercial interests were represented by a British Trade Commission. [123] It was headed by a Senior Trade Commissioner, who became the first Consul-General. [124]
  24. Hong Kong was no longer linked to the Commonwealth and no longer participated in related organisations or events. [125]Consular missions of Commonwealth member states in Hong Kong were no longer known as Commissions, but as Consulates-General. [126]
  25. Countries which did not have diplomatic relations with the United Kingdom, but had diplomatic relations with the People's Republic of China, such as North Korea and Iran, were allowed to establish or re-open Consulates-General. [127]
  26. Consulates of countries which maintained diplomatic relations with Taiwan were closed. [128] Only South Africa, which was to establish relations with the People's Republic of China from 1998, was allowed to keep its Consulate General open for an interim period. [129]
  27. Hong Kong's aircraft registration prefix changed from VR to B, bringing it into line with mainland China and Taiwan. [130]
  28. Newspapers, such as the South China Morning Post, changed to heading their pages with "National", rather than "Local" and 'China', and began including Chinese names in Chinese characters. However, the online edition still uses "China" and only displays Chinese names in Roman script. [131]
  29. A giant golden statue of a Bauhinia blakeana was erected in a public space outside the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre, named Golden Bauhinia Square, along with a Reunification Monument. [132]

Rose Garden Project Edit

After the Tiananmen Square protests of 1989, the Hong Kong government proposed a grand "Rose Garden Project" to restore faith and solidarity among the residents. [133] As the construction of the new Hong Kong International Airport would extend well after the handover, Governor Wilson met PRC Premier Li Peng in Beijing to ease the mind of the PRC government. [134]

The communist press published stories that the project was an evil plan to bleed Hong Kong dry before the handover, leaving the territory in serious debt. [135] After three years of negotiations, Britain and the PRC finally reached an agreement over the construction of the new airport, and signed a Memorandum of Understanding. [136] Removing hills and reclaiming land, it took only a few years to construct the new airport.

Views of the Kowloon Walled City Edit

The Walled City was originally a single fort built in the mid-19th century on the site of an earlier 17th-century watch post on the Kowloon Peninsula of Hong Kong. [137] After the ceding of Hong Kong Island to Britain in 1842 (Treaty of Nanjing), Manchu Qing Dynasty authorities of China felt it necessary for them to establish a military and administrative post to rule the area and to check further British influence in the area.

The 1898 Convention which handed additional parts of Hong Kong (the New Territories) to Britain for 99 years excluded the Walled City, with a population of roughly 700. It stated that China could continue to keep troops there, so long as they did not interfere with Britain's temporary rule.

Britain quickly went back on this unofficial part of the agreement, attacking Kowloon Walled City in 1899, only to find it deserted. They did nothing with it, or the outpost, and thus posed the question of Kowloon Walled City's ownership squarely up in the air. The outpost consisted of a yamen, as well as buildings which grew into low-lying, densely packed neighbourhoods from the 1890s to 1940s.

The enclave remained part of Chinese territory despite the turbulent events of the early 20th century that saw the fall of the Qing government, the establishment of the Republic of China and, later, a Communist Chinese government (PRC).

Squatters began to occupy the Walled City, resisting several attempts by Britain in 1948 to drive them out. The Walled City became a haven for criminals and drug addicts, as the Hong Kong Police had no right to enter the City and China refused maintainability. The 1949 foundation of the People's Republic of China added thousands of refugees to the population, many from Guangdong by this time, Britain had had enough, and simply adopted a "hands-off" policy.

A murder that occurred in Kowloon Walled City in 1959 set off a small diplomatic crisis, as the two nations each tried to get the other to accept responsibility for a vast tract of land now virtually ruled by anti-Manchurian Triads.

After the Joint Declaration in 1984, the PRC allowed British authorities to demolish the city and resettle its inhabitants. The mutual decision to tear down the walled city was made in 1987. [138] The government spent up to HK$ 3 billion to resettle the residents and shops.

Some residents were not satisfied with the compensation, and some even obstructed the demolition in every possible way. [139] Ultimately, everything was settled, and the Walled City became a park. [140]

The Republic of China on Taiwan promulgated the Laws and Regulations Regarding Hong Kong & Macao Affairs on 2 April 1997 by Presidential Order, and the Executive Yuan on 19 June 1997 ordered the provisions pertaining to Hong Kong to take effect on 1 July 1997. [141]

The United States–Hong Kong Policy Act or more commonly known as the Hong Kong Policy Act (PL no. 102-383m 106 Stat. 1448) is a 1992 act enacted by the United States Congress. It allows the United States to continue to treat Hong Kong separately from China for matters concerning trade export and economics control after the handover. [142]

The United States was represented by then Secretary of State Madeleine Albright at the Hong Kong handover ceremony. [143] However, she partially boycotted it in protest of China's dissolution of the democratically elected Hong Kong legislature. [144]

The handover marked the end of British rule in Hong Kong, which was Britain's last substantial overseas territory. Although in statute law set down by Parliament, British Hong Kong had no status of pre-eminence vis-a-vis the other British Dependent Territories (as they were then classified before the term British Overseas Territory was introduced in 2002), Hong Kong was by far the most populous and economically potent. In 1997 the colony had a population of approximately 6.5 million, which represented roughly 97% of the population of the British Dependent Territories as a whole at that time (the next largest, Bermuda, having a 1997 population of approximately only 62,000). With a gross domestic product of approximately US$180 billion in the last year of British rule, [145] Hong Kong's economy was roughly 11% the size of Britain's. [146] Therefore, although the economies of the United Kingdom and Hong Kong were measured separately, the Handover did mean the British economy in its very broadest sense became substantially smaller (by comparison, the acquisition of Hong Kong boosted the size of the Chinese economy, which was then smaller than the United Kingdom's, by 18.4%). [147] As a comparator to Hong Kong, in 2017 Bermuda (as with population, the economically largest of Britain's remaining territories) had a GDP of only US$4.7 billion. [148]

The cession of Hong Kong meant that Britain's remaining territories (excepting the United Kingdom itself) henceforth consisted either of uninhabited lands (for instance the British Antarctic Territory), small islands or micro land masses (such as Montserrat), territories used as military bases (for example Akrotiri and Dhekelia on the island of Cyprus, itself a former crown colony granted independence in 1960), or a combination of the latter two (like Gibraltar). While many of Britain's remaining territories are significant to the global economy by virtue of being offshore financial centres (Bermuda, the British Virgin Islands, and the Cayman Islands being the most prominent of these), their economies are insubstantial. Demographically, they are also tiny compared to Britain, with a collective population of less than 0.4% of Britain's 2017 population of 66 million. [149] As of 2018, the combined population of Britain's remaining fourteen Overseas Territories is approximately 250,000, which is less than all but three districts of Hong Kong, and roughly equal to that of the City of Westminster.

Consequently, because ceding Hong Kong came at the end of half a century of decolonisation, and because the handover meant that the United Kingdom became without significant overseas territories, dominions, or colonies for the first time in its history (Great Britain, having been bequeathed the incipient domains of its later empire by inheriting the colonial possessions of the Kingdom of England upon the passing of the Acts of Union 1707, always having been an imperial power, ab initio), the handover of Hong Kong to China is regarded by some as marking the conclusion of the British Empire, with 1 July 1997 being its end date and the handover ceremony being its last diplomatic act.

Scholars have begun to study the complexities of the transfer as shown in the popular media, such as films, television and video and online games. For example, Hong Kong director Fruit Chan made a sci-fi thriller The Midnight After (2014) that stressed the sense of loss and alienation represented by survivors in an apocalyptic Hong Kong. Chan infuses a political agenda in the film by playing on Hong Kongers' collective anxiety towards communist China. [150] Yiman Wang has argued that America has viewed China through the prisms of films from Shanghai and Hong Kong, with a recent emphasis on futuristic disaster films set in Hong Kong after the transfer goes awry. [151]


Opium Wars

When the Qing government discovered that banning opium imports outright did not work—because British merchants simply smuggled the drug into China—they took more direct action. In 1839, Chinese officials destroyed 20,000 bales of opium, each chest containing 140 pounds of the narcotic drug.   This move provoked Britain to declare war to protect its illegal drug-smuggling operations.

The First Opium War lasted from 1839 to 1842. Britain invaded the Chinese mainland and occupied the island of Hong Kong on Jan. 25, 1841, using it as a military staging point. China lost the war and had to cede Hong Kong to Britain in the Treaty of Nanking. As a result, Hong Kong became a crown colony of the British Empire.


Jan 20, 1841: Hong Kong Ceded to the British

A 46 segment × 3 exposure HDR panorama of the Hong Kong night skyline.

During the First Opium War, China cedes the island of Hong Kong to the British with the signing of the Chuenpi Convention, an agreement seeking an end to the first Anglo-Chinese conflict.

In 1839, Britain invaded China to crush opposition to its interference in the country’s economic and political affairs. One of Britain’s first acts of the war was to occupy Hong Kong, a sparsely inhabited island off the coast of southeast China. In 1841, China ceded the island to the British, and in 1842 the Treaty of Nanking was signed, formally ending the First Opium War.

Britain’s new colony flourished as an East-West trading center and as the commercial gateway and distribution center for southern China. In 1898, Britain was granted an additional 99 years of rule over Hong Kong under the Second Convention of Peking. In September 1984, after years of negotiations, the British and the Chinese signed a formal agreement approving the 1997 turnover of the island in exchange for a Chinese pledge to preserve Hong Kong’s capitalist system. On July 1, 1997, Hong Kong was peaceably handed over to China in a ceremony attended by numerous Chinese and British dignitaries. The chief executive under the new Hong Kong government, Tung Chee Hwa, formulated a policy based upon the concept of “one country, two systems,” thus preserving Hong Kong’s role as a principal capitalist center in Asia.


WI : Zhoushan ceded to the British instead of Hong Kong?

I thought I'd recreate this as it was recently necro'd and locked (and I find the subject interesting, sue me).

That little red dot is the slightly larger (and more central to China/Japan) Zhoushan.

What would be the effects of Zhoushan ceded in perpetuity to the British?Note that Zhoushan/Chusan and it's island groups seems to be much bigger than Hong Kong island. Would there be a significant impact on relations between Britain, China and Japan - and what changes would there be?

For my two cents I like the idea that the British would want to secure Taiwan as a result - but since that is Chinese currently, that is a no go, perhaps the result of a follow up war (I don't see why there wouldn't be a second Opium war). Zhoushan sits as a fantastic location for a trade post with both China and Japan. Being closer to the North China Plain would make it a better trade location for the British as they are closer to their markets - and as a result an alt-Hong Konger culture (Zhoushan culture) may be more prominent in OTL Shanghai and China as a whole, as well as on Zhoushan and Taiwan.

Whilst I don't expect Britain to force open Japan, they'd probably be supportive of the efforts to open Japan to trade, as well as leading to major British efforts in Nagasaki. Having Japan as a market, as well as China is good for business - enough to bankroll the Militarisation and Colonisation of Taiwan by British, Chinese and Japanese Settlers (and the same in Zhoushan).

I am curious as to whether Korea was much of a market (anyone know much about Korea?) - as Zhoushan is well placed for N.China, Japan and Korea - and amusingly, E.Russia. (I wonder if it would be quicker to transport goods from Russia via Zhoushan and the Black Sea than by land. I'd say yes, which would make things interesting with Russia).

CardinalXiminez

Then the clouds unfolded and the sea —well, the sea that awful brown should be mostly Yangtze water even at this distance— was revealed. From the window of the BAe 125, sir Edgar Allerdyce Mahoney, KC, DSC, GCMG, GCVO, expected to glimpse again what would become his home for, at least, four years. But no land could be found only the trail of at least fifty ships —mostly containerships, but also a big deal of tankers— steaming east or westbound. "We are starting our approach", croaked a voice coming from the cabin. "We are descending a bit earlier, sir, because we have information that the commies will try to put off some fireworks on your arrival. They're on for a surprise". Even from inside the plane it was evident that the air was charged with heated moisture oh, the glories of late spring in East Asia. He felt nervous, again. His governorship was going to be a bumpy affair and he knew that Twigg alerted him (the poor chap, even more distracted that he was) that the Chinese were bound to a fresh round of agitation on the build-up to the Communist Party congress, in October. But, come on, he relished the opportunity. If he passed on, what was next for him? A sedated governorship on the Turks and Caicos? Nah, he still was a military man, he knew the island, he lost his blood for it (indeed, his knee was very well lately, thank you very much) and he yearned for some action. The good thoughts were passing by his mind. oh, there they are. Two Rocks, Emery, Craig Rock. he knew the approach, even after all this years, even if he couldn't pilot a plane for the sake of it. Dozens of approaches, ferrying from Fukuoka and back, every two months, during four years, the best and the worst of his life. "Defence Campaign, 1969-73", told the clasp in his medal, and so proud of it, even if back home it wasn't that popular. Oh, that turn was new, that will confuse the Chinese. And, in good measure, it was to give him the inspection tour: there was Tai Shan, the naval base, home for years, and today a nest of spies for all he knew (that must be my first task here, he thought), then another big, long curve, a risky one, if an enterprising officer with a SA-2 took a chance for the worse. Nah, it wasn't there. Or, it. Oh, yeah, boom. The air vibrated, the plane shaked, but that was that a card from Chairman Zhu "You are here, and you aren't welcome" but not even the thuggish hardliner in Peking would dare to knock down a RAF plane. It was for show: their waters, their air, their surface-air missile test nothing to deserve more than the usual diplomatic complaint. And then the Big Island itself, in its green and brown glory: the Tsang Pai Oil Terminal, with the tankers loading that oh-so-much-needed oil for the further development of Chinese capitalism, with a good slice of profits to BP, Royal Dutch and Cathay Oil too the water reservoirs, Evans, Matheson, Long Tan the brownish industrial estates, chugging even more cheap toys and electronics to dilapidated shops in Salford the one, two, three containership terminals (these weren't there in my Royal Marines youth) that was Beilun, there's where the bad guys are here Port Albert, with the astounding Eight Towers and a skyline to give New York a run for its money. now low, a stretch of brown water again. and here we are. The brakes of the BAe 125 slammed down. "We have arrived, sir", croaked the voice again. "It's eleven fifteen local time". He was grateful. He was hopeful. He was home.

Sunday, January, 19, 1969.

"Oh, mate, that's good". Sergeant Edgar A. Mahoney has tasted his first bacon bun of the day. Not all coronaries resisted that oh-so-Chusanese treat, but of course if somebody's could, it certainly would be the arteries of a 24-year old Irish-Scots, strong as a bull and first in every strength competition at the Fletcher Barracks. The day was cold and strangely dry, "dry" meaning in Eastern China terms "not bone-chilling damp". But there was sun in the sky, sergeant Mahoney had in his hand a warm bun full of honest-to-goodness wine-braised pork belly (mixed with cabbage and other vegetables) and a fine bottle (small bottle) of Niu Chaw Wan Brewery Ale, and the Forces radio was blasting 'Help Yourself', from Tom Jones. The song ended with the noon pips and the bulletin: the voice was of his friend Michael Patterson.

"Good morning. It is twelve hundred, midday local time. This is the British Forces Broadcasting Service, transmitting from Victoria Town, Chusan, at 194 and 247 meters, that is 1214 and 1546 kilocycles. Now with the news. The Communist Chinese Red Guards have launched publicly today a campaign against the United Kingdom, Portugal, and other foreign powers who keep posessions in China, not only in the Communist controlled areas, but also in the Nationalist zones in the south of the country and Formosa. This movement has not been denounced by the Peking government. "

He couldn't know then, but it started it all. "It was a perfect day", Mahoney remembered later.

CardinalXiminez

I think the PoD must be Article the Third of the Treaty of Nanking (1842):

It being obviously necessary and desirable that British subjects should have some ports whereat they may [maintain] and refit their ships when required, and keep stores for that purpose, His Majesty the Emperor of China cedes to Her Majesty the Queen of Great Britain, &c., the Island of Hong-Kong and the Islands so called Pescadores, or Peng Hu and the Chusan Archipelago, to be possessed in perpetuity by Her Britannic Majesty, her heirs and successors, and to be governed by such laws and regulations as Her Majesty the Queen of Great Britain, &c., shall see fit to direct.

The first question is: what would the British trading houses do? Would they keep themselves around Canton, or move to the new colony? As far as I know, Zhejiang is THE tea capital of China, so there's an attraction focus.

RogueTraderEnthusiast

I think the PoD must be Article the Third of the Treaty of Nanking (1842):

It being obviously necessary and desirable that British subjects should have some ports whereat they may [maintain] and refit their ships when required, and keep stores for that purpose, His Majesty the Emperor of China cedes to Her Majesty the Queen of Great Britain, &c., the Island of Hong-Kong and the Islands so called Pescadores, or Peng Hu and the Chusan Archipelago, to be possessed in perpetuity by Her Britannic Majesty, her heirs and successors, and to be governed by such laws and regulations as Her Majesty the Queen of Great Britain, &c., shall see fit to direct.

The first question is: what would the British trading houses do? Would they keep themselves around Canton, or move to the new colony? As far as I know, Zhejiang is THE tea capital of China, so there's an attraction focus.

That was in line with what I was expecting, although I am not sure what value Hong Kong has when Britain has Zhoushan. I guess having two trade posts is useful, and the position gives Britain more bases near China.

I didn't know that about the Tea though, that would significantly change the British bullion problem that lead to the Opium war in the first place. Tea coming from Zhoushan would not lead to Britain losing silver at the same rate as OTL.

Do you think that Britain may well have to become an arbiter in the Far East? The Third Party to settle disputes between China, Japan and Korea?

I'm pretty convinced that a second opium war will take place regardless, leading to the likely acquisition of Taiwan and previously mentioned settlement, but do you thinking the Japanese settlers would be Kristian, or openly so, and what relationship they'd have with Japan proper.


If Hong Kong Were Ceded "in perpetuity"

Hong Kong -was- ceded in perpetuity, it's the new territories that was given the 99 year lease. The reason why Hong Kong was returned was because if the new territories goes back HK island is not a viable city anymore.

Even if the new territories are ceded in perpetuity you run into the same problems: namely that the Chinese can shut off the food and the water and Hong Kong stops being a viable city. Or the PLA can just threaten to march in and watch the UK deal with a massive refugee crisis it really didn't want to deal with.

Basically every one of the same factors which caused the handover OTL is still there.

Simon

Are the two situations really comparable though? The new Portuguese government was withdrawing from their colonial holdings and wanted to give it back, IIRC they even offered to hand it over earlier but the Chinese government put them off for a little while for political reasons that I forget. Assuming that the treaty that ceded the New Territories was in perpetuity or a later one that transferred the lease to such was done by either the Imperial or Republican governments you then get into the question of whether the Communists would recognise or be willing to abrogate an internationally recognised treaty. If they did then as others have said they could make things difficult.

Hong Kong has no local fresh water, so beside imported bottled water, everything that flows through the taps comes fromt he mainland.

Kichinichini

Overoceans

Hong Kong -was- ceded in perpetuity, it's the new territories that was given the 99 year lease. The reason why Hong Kong was returned was because if the new territories goes back HK island is not a viable city anymore.

Even if the new territories are ceded in perpetuity you run into the same problems: namely that the Chinese can shut off the food and the water and Hong Kong stops being a viable city. Or the PLA can just threaten to march in and watch the UK deal with a massive refugee crisis it really didn't want to deal with.

Basically every one of the same factors which caused the handover OTL is still there.

When there was all that argument between China and the UK over the handover, was that only Hong Kong proper that they were talking about?

Because it always seemed to me a little arrogant for the Brits to think that they had the right to make ANY demands against the Chinese in that matter, since the UK was bound by treaty to hand it back no matter what. However, I guess it would make more sense if they were talking about the areas that the British were given legal ownership of forever.

Viriato

Sloreck

Napoleonrules

When there was all that argument between China and the UK over the handover, was that only Hong Kong proper that they were talking about?

Because it always seemed to me a little arrogant for the Brits to think that they had the right to make ANY demands against the Chinese in that matter, since the UK was bound by treaty to hand it back no matter what. However, I guess it would make more sense if they were talking about the areas that the British were given legal ownership of forever.

Pangur

Admiral Beez

Pangur

Napoleonrules

From an AH point of view? It's an interesting and fun scenario.

From a realpolitik view of geopolitics? Well.. there's the point- Were you ever in the PRC in or before 1984? (1984 is when the treaty was made that Britain said they'd give back Hong Kong and therefore when we'd be talking about this "shit stirring"). The PRC is not exactly the place you want to voluntarily send people who were, depending on what year we're talking about, a British citizen/national in one category or another. Hong Kongers went through three or four different categories of British citizenship in the 1980s and none of it was recognized by the PRC, the PRC didn't want those people to later claim British citizenship and get consulate help after the handover or cause problems diplomatically or. worst of all- leave and move to the UK or other nations on British passports making the PRC look bad when all the wealthy jump ship.

RousseauX

From an AH point of view? It's an interesting and fun scenario.

From a realpolitik view of geopolitics? Well.. there's the point- Were you ever in the PRC in or before 1984? (1984 is when the treaty was made that Britain said they'd give back Hong Kong and therefore when we'd be talking about this "shit stirring"). The PRC is not exactly the place you want to voluntarily send people who were, depending on what year we're talking about, a British citizen/national in one category or another. Hong Kongers went through three or four different categories of British citizenship in the 1980s and none of it was recognized by the PRC, the PRC didn't want those people to later claim British citizenship and get consulate help after the handover or cause problems diplomatically or. worst of all- leave and move to the UK or other nations on British passports making the PRC look bad when all the wealthy jump ship.

What are you talking about?

The UK was the one who refused to grant Hong Kongers permission to move to the UK. The PRC doesn't really care that much who leaves because that gets rid of potential troublemakers anyway, but the UK doesn't want to deal with millions of potential refugees flooding into the country. A large part of the reason why the UK went through the negotiations in the first place is to ensure a stable transition so that HKers don't try to claim the refugee status.


WI: The New Territories Permanently Ceded

At the end of the First Opium War China permanently ceded Hong Kong to the UK. At the end of the Second war, Kowloon was added to that, and in 1898, the New Territories were leased to the UK for 99 years.
When 1997 rolled along (99 years since the lease was arranged) Britain ceded the whole lot because it would pretty much sever the city in two, plus the New Territories were the agricultural backbone of the city.

My question is, what if, at the end of the Second Opium War, the New Territories and Kowloon are permanently ceded to Britain.
What would the effects be on the remainder of the 19th and the 20th centuries*?

* I wasn't sure whether this should have gone into before or after 1900. The POD is before, but the effects are mostly after.

Jkarr

it belongs here dont worry, as the pod is what determines where a thread is placed

and i think if the Qing dynasty was more devestated by the first sino-japanese war itd be easy enough to convince them to hand the territories over permenantly for a good price

and even then, if that didnt happen, you could just have britian refuse to hand it back by the 97 dealine, with them saying that the republic of china had no claim to the territory as it was brought and leased by the Qing and as such, the republic had no claim to the territory as it was leased by a nation that is recognised by the british in those new territories under their protection. granted its a flimsy excuse but someone might have hte balls to say it to the chinese. or having the people of hong kong itself decid theyd rather stay under british sovereingty like gibraltar

Socrates

The British couldn't hang on to the place. If the Chinese wanted to overrun them, they could, and Britain would be too weak to do otherwise.

Unless the Americans were prepared to intervene.

Color-Copycat

That's an interesting POD. The urban development of HK during the 20th century was shaped by the temporary lease on the New Territories. Economic investment and urban buildup were concentrated on Kowloon and HK Island, while the New Territories were largely bereft of any large construction/infrastructure projects since the idea was that they'd go back to China anyway and investment there would be a waste if the land couldn't been retained. If the New Territories are permanently ceded to the British, I think there wouldn't be this tunnel vision centered around Kowloon and HK Island, since all those hundreds of islands in the New Territories would be just as profitable in terms of real estate value back when the level of urban development was largely minimal across all of Hong Kong at the turn of the last century.

In terms of agriculture, though, most food was/is imported from abroad, IIRC, largely from Southeast Asia and the mainland.

Strangeland

The British couldn't hang on to the place. If the Chinese wanted to overrun them, they could, and Britain would be too weak to do otherwise.


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To make peace, China agreed to cede Hong Kong Island to Britain in 1841.

The Kowloon peninsula followed in 1860 after a second Opium War and Britain extended north into the rural New Territories in 1898, leasing the area for 99 years.

British rule

Hong Kong was part of the British empire until 1997, when the lease on the New Territories expired and the entire city was handed back to China.

Under British rule, Hong Kong transformed into a commercial and financial hub boasting one of the world’s busiest harbours.

Anti-colonial sentiment fuelled riots in 1967 which led to some social and political reforms — by the time it was handed back to China, the city had a partially elected legislature and retained an independent judiciary.

Hong Kong boomed as China opened up its economy from the late 1970s, becoming a gateway between the ascendant power and the rest of the world.

Return to China

After lengthy negotiations, including between Deng Xiaoping and British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, the future handover of Hong Kong was signed off by the two sides in 1984.

The Sino-British declaration said Hong Kong would be a “Special Administrative Region” of China, and would retain its freedoms and way of life for 50 years after the handover date on July 1, 1997.

While initial fears of a crackdown did not materialise, concerns have grown in recent years that China is tightening its grip.

Democratic reforms promised in the handover deal have not materialised and young activists calling for self-determination or independence have emerged.


Above Photo: From Globalresearch.ca

The recent history of Hong Kong doesn’t begin where most Westerners might imagine. It began with the Rothschild’s British East India Company that existed from the early 1700s to nearly 1900, when Rothschild conceived the idea of inflicting opium onto China. The plans had been well-made, with approval from the top. Rothschild had the franchise for growing the opium and David Sassoon received from Queen Victoria herself, the exclusive franchise for distributing the drug in China.

The reason Hong Kong was seized by England, on orders of Queen Victoria, was that Sassoon needed a logistics, warehousing, and distribution base for his opium operations. Similarly, the founding of HSBC, an event requiring permission of the monarch, was for the handling and laundering of Sassoon’s drug money, an expertise in which the bank still specialises today. The standard narrative tells us the HSBC was founded by Scotsman Sir Thomas Sutherland, who wanted a bank operating on “sound Scottish banking principles”, but that’s historical Photoshopping. I don’t know who Sutherland was, but, if he existed at all, he quickly disappeared and his name appears nowhere in a list of directors, executives or officers. The HSBC was never a British or Scottish bank, and it never was and certainly is not now a “Chinese bank”. It was always a Jewish bank and David Sassoon was the Chairman of the Board from its founding. I have copies of the original documents.

Most everything in Hong Kong today has its origin in opium trafficking, in one way or another. Even the famous Peninsula Hotel is owned by the Kadoorie family, one of the famous five families involved in China’s opium trade. And thus began China’s “century of humiliation” and the origins of modern Hong Kong. I now want to digress for a moment to make an important point.

The Americans’ first major attempt at colonisation was with their invasion of the Philippines, after which they forced their language onto that nation and immediately followed with a carefully-chosen selection of false American history, literature and propaganda. They spent decades and countless millions of hours in determining the best way to propagandise an entire nation of people to forget their own past, venerate their present colonial status, and learn to worship the Americans. The same Americans then destroyed and rewrote all Philippine domestic history books to erase from consciousness that nation’s heroes, traditions, cultures, and hopes of freedom from American imperialism. They tried to colonise the souls of the Philippine people, and failed, leaving the country today with almost no culture or traditions, no domestic products (which are a crucial part of a nation’s culture), and having lost all sense of a civilisation.

It is painful to read American commentary on the Philippines today, virtually classifying that nation as a failed state, identifying the lack of progress and apparent absence of social cohesion, and blaming the nation’s culture for these failings. It must surely be obvious to thinking people somewhere that a nation’s culture cannot be over-written without permanently damaging the national psyche in ways that perhaps can never be repaired. As an indication of the deep roots and subtle values embedded in a nation’s culture, it is an axiom that Englishmen claim to be only beginning to understand their French wives after 25 years of marriage. To attempt to forcibly over-write an Italian culture with a German one, or the Chinese with American, would leave a national psyche that is a schizophrenic social mess that might never fix itself. The people would survive, but nothing would be natural or normal to them. In simple terms, they wouldn’t know which way was up, and eventually society would cease to function normally. And yet this is what the Americans so deliberately and unconscionably do to other nations, driven by greed and by their infernal moral superiority fueling their lust for domination. Even worse, the real tragedy is that the Americans have no culture. They attempt to forcibly replace a real cultural heritage of a real nation with a fictional utopian concoction that is entirely fake, superficial and hypocritical, with so-called ‘values’ that the Americans themselves totally ignore in practice. The British did the same with India, which is why we have the schizophrenic mess in that country, Indians not now knowing if they are West or East. Japan avoided this because it remained Japanese and not “American”, as was true for Korea and is true for China today.

From a review of Ethan Watters‘ book, ‘Crazy like us: the globalisation of the American psyche’:

“The most devastating consequence of the spread of American culture across the globe has not been our golden arches or our bomb craters, but our bulldozing of the human psyche itself … In teaching the rest of the world to think like us, we have been homogenizing the way the world goes mad.”

And in his long tome Tragedy and Hope, Carroll Quigley wrote:

“The destructive impact of Western Civilisation upon so many other societies rests on its ability to demoralise their ideological and spiritual culture as much as its ability to destroy them in a material sense with firearms. The Americans specialise in doing both. When one society is destroyed by the impact of another society, the people are left in a debris of cultural elements derived from their own shattered culture as well as from the invading culture. These elements generally provide the instruments for fulfilling the material needs of these people, but they cannot be organised into a functioning society because of the lack of an ideology and spiritual cohesive. Such people either perish or are incorporated as individuals and small groups into some other culture, whose ideology they adopt …”.

Quigley should have more clearly stated that in this process, society itself is destroyed, with no possibility of resurrection.

The British did to the Chinese in Hong Kong precisely as the Americans did to the Philippines: they attempted to colonise the souls of the people, and failed. The major factor underlying many of Hong Kong’s problems and symptoms today, most especially the social and political elements, was this century-long program of cultural genocide that left in its wake a schizophrenic emotional angst, which the US government is today milking for everything it’s worth. The British followed the American path, first forcing the change in national language, then doing their best to force the population of Hong Kong to forget their own past, venerate their colonial status, and learn to worship the British Empire. Few people, and no young people, in Hong Kong today have any knowledge of this part of their history because the British did what the Americans did – they burnt all the history books and re-wrote Hong Kong’s history in an attempt to erase their own sordid past from the consciousness of Hong Kong’s people.

It is heart-breaking to look at Hong Kong today, to see both the cause and the effects, and the existentialist dread that infects that city, the uncertainty, anxiety and fear manifesting itself in American-incited and financed puerile political demonstrations, racism and even hatred of the Mainland Chinese – hatred of their own people, of themselves – the schizophrenic overflow from a century of mostly-failed psychic re-programming. For the sake of cheap political gain, Hong Kong as a whole is being terrorised by the Americans to abandon its own civilisation and national identity and to adopt reprehensibly false American values. The Hongkongnese today have neither awareness nor understanding of what is happening to them while they are being pushed to make choices that will in the end tear them apart emotionally, all to give the Americans a platform from which they can stab at China from underneath.

We can now fast-forward to 1967, the year of Hong Kong’s civil war, though no one wants to call it that, most references reducing it to an “uprising” with the blame levied on Mainland China. It was no such thing. The so-called uprising was a direct result of the cruelty, the oppression, and the savage cultural destruction of the Chinese people. It was the pent-up outrage of a century of humiliation and cultural assault that exploded into an eight-month war that left Hong Kong uncontrollable and with Chinese troops massed at the border to prevent an overflow into the Mainland. Today most people in Hong Kong believe their civil war was merely a ‘disturbance’ created by ‘leftists’ from Mainland China, one of the many lies they’ve been told about their own history.

Prior to 1967, no Chinese in Hong Kong were permitted to attend school, education being for the foreigners and the elite few. Much more, local Chinese, virtually all forcibly in the lower class, were truly treated with contempt. There are many elderly Chinese in Hong Kong today who can tell you of being approached by small white children, being spat upon and called a “dirty yellow dog”. Local Chinese were treated with contempt not only by the British and other foreigners, but by those same few elite Chinese. One of these was Li Ka-Shing, today feted as “Papa Li” and Hong Kong’s richest man. According to documented reports, in 1967 Li approached the workers in his plastic flower factory to inform them their wages would be reduced by 20%, their hours increased by 20%, and various other oppressive maneuvers. According to my documents, Li repeated the maneuver in another factory he owned at the time, these in a circumstance where workers were already expected to work 12 to 14 hours a day without a break. These events were the proverbial straw that broke the camel’s back. Workers refusing to accept the new rules were fired, police arresting many workers refusing to permit goods to leave the factories, these events erupting into violent riots that soon engulfed the entire city and resulted in a civil war. This was not all Li’s fault by any means his actions were merely the detonator but he was nevertheless one part of a huge seething social problem.

Thus, in addition to the forces of cultural disintegration, most of Hong Kong experienced severe economic and labor oppression, producing economic and social unrest that eventually erupted into violent political demonstrations. Factories were burned, police stations bombed, there were widespread transportation and other strikes, street demonstrations and rioting. Buses were torched and government offices were looted and buildings burnt. The colonial government fired thousands of local Chinese staff for participating in the demonstrations. The police forced their way into a union office, arresting many and killing others, leading to more retaliatory violence. The government and foreign media launched a massive media campaign blaming Mainland China for the unrest.

The 1967 civil war was widely seen as a watershed in Hong Kong’s history, which forced the colonial government to introduce sweeping social reforms, especially on education and social welfare, the Governor finally admitting there was “much needed to be done in Hong Kong”, and later the British Colonial Secretary conceding that “there would never have been any reform” without the civil war against the foreigners and the Hong Kong elite. The insurrection forced the British colonial administration to provide – for the first time – the opportunity for nine years of school education for local Chinese, and amended the labor law to reduce the maximum working hours for women and children to (only) 57 hours per week. It should be noted the reforms did not include political items there was never any “democracy” for the Chinese in Hong Kong, nor had the British ever contemplated such.

Fast-Forward to 2019

Hong Kong today has two major problems:

The first, as Martin Jacques pointed out so well in a recent article, Hong Kong has never had an efficient or independent government, nor an administration structure meant to manage a large modern city. It was entirely a colonial government designed to carry out and enforce orders from London, and it remains thus today. But London is gone and China’s efforts to improve the situation are viciously condemned by the West as interference and ‘removing freedoms’. This colonial government is effectively hamstrung because the political environment in Hong Kong was created specifically for the oligarchy, created by either opium money or by looting the public, and they do so today with the protection of the so-called “opposition” in the government who refuse all attempts to make Hong Kong a more human city and more affordable for residents. From this, the city is suffering most of its social problems.

As one example, any attempt to use vacant land for affordable housing is killed by this opposition who have been bought by the few land developers, resulting in home ownership being impossible for young people, the smallest home of perhaps 20 square meters costing US$ one million. Hong Kong is the only city I know where tens of thousands of people literally live in dog cages of two square meters, stacked three or four high in warehouses, many housing the very elderly or mothers with young children, and yet forced to pay as much as US$200 per month rent for squalid conditions with no toilets or cooking facilities. Virtually all the infrastructure and much of the retail landscape, is owned by only a few families who take advantage to unconscionably gouge the residents. The reports of the brutal treatment and effective slavery of Philippino nannies and housekeepers, are sufficient to make normal humans cringe. Andre Vltchek wrote in a recent article that poverty rates in Hong Kong are high, and that the city suffers from corruption and savage capitalism. So true on both counts. He wrote that the contrast between Shanghai, Beijing and Hong Kong is shocking. Also true. People, especially young people, in Hong Kong feel they have no future, and they are right. But instead of looking to the only source of their salvation in the Mainland, they are turning to the source of their problems, the Americans. Thus, for them, “no future” is guaranteed.

In the West, we read media reports that Hong Kong has a rule of law that puts to shame everyone in Asia including China, Japan and Singapore. If only that were true. Some basic civil protections may be fine, but the picture is very different with corporations freely looting the civil population. Hong Kong is a Wild-West corporate town with the most brutal form of capitalism, where the Robber Barons have always ruled and where most fortunes made were, and still are, either illegitimate or inhumane. Here are a few examples from different sectors of Hong Kong business.

A prominent Hong Kong land developer constructed some luxury apartment buildings that were greatly hyped and overpriced. Prospective buyers were comforted by evidence that much of the project had already sold out at those levels and that the prices would soon be even higher. Unfortunately, the sales were all fake. The developer had “sold” many of the flats to friends and acquaintances on the understanding that they had no liability and that the purchases would be unwound as innocent buyers took the bait. But no problem, at least not for the developer.

One of Hong Kong’s more prominent citizens owns a mobile phone company that attracted many new customers by giving a “free” mobile phone to anyone over 16 with an HK ID card. The cries of complaint were immediately almost deafening, subscribers receiving huge bills with no information on how the charges were assessed, and no copy of a contract to determine the fees. Eventually the matter ended in court, the many plaintiffs depending on Hong Kong’s famous “rule of law” to protect them. The courts repeatedly ordered the company to provide each customer with a copy of the contract so they could know the basis for the charges and fees. After years of delay and repeatedly ignored court orders, each subscriber finally received a contract, the document shrunk to a type size so small that all 4 pages were printed on one side of a piece of A-4 paper, and on grey paper with pink ink. Totally unreadable by man or machine. Back in court, the company claimed it was “just trying to save trees”. To my best knowledge, that was the end of the matter.

Authorities investigated Richard Li (the son of Li Ka-Shing) in his bid to buy out PCCW, Hong Kong’s leading phone carrier. A judge called his takeover deal “nothing less than dishonesty”. According to Hong Kong law, a majority of voters is necessary for these bids, but Li had no majority. News reports claimed a senior member of Li’s buy-out group instructed a manager at Fortis Insurance Asia (a firm once controlled by Li) to distribute 500,000 shares to 500 of the company’s employees who then voted in favour of the takeover, tipping the balance for the deal to go through. According to the same reports, neither Mr. Li, nor his company, nor PCCW, nor Fortis, nor any of Fortis’ executives had any knowledge of any of this.

Nathan Road is perhaps the most famous and well-known of all Hong Kong’s shopping and tourist areas, but the criminality of this area has been legendary for decades, with hundreds of thousands of tourists and visitors badly cheated every year. These truths about Nathan Road are available even on the Hong Kong government’s own tourism website, with stories that sometimes are heart-breaking. You purchase an expensive new computer or mobile phone and the clerk asks you to pay with cash to preserve your huge “discount”. He then goes into the storage room to get your item but you become alarmed and ask for help when he doesn’t return after 20 minutes, only to be told that no staff member fits the description you provide, and the store has no idea who took your money. You buy an expensive new camera, take the box back to your hotel and discover it contains a cheap knock-off that is worth perhaps 10% of the price you paid. Of course, you return to the shop to complain, but the owner tells you there’s nothing he can do because you could have made the exchange yourself and are trying to cheat him. But it wouldn’t have mattered because only the casing looks real the insides are cheap junk. Numerous people on Nathan Road pretend to be tailors offering large discounts on Hong Kong’s legendary high-quality suits. In a room containing expensive fabrics and photo catalogues, you select your dream suit for which you must pay in advance, and which will be delivered to your hotel prior to your departure. But the suit delivered just before you rush to the airport will be a poorly-fitting $100 piece of polyester and, if you have time to complain, your “tailor” is nowhere to be seen. The Hong Kong police could shut down all of this in a day, if they wanted. But they don’t want.

Today, China is everyone’s favorite whipping boy for copied or fake products, but these began their lives in Hong Kong, not in Mainland China and, while the factories may indeed be in China, the owners are now and have always been in Hong Kong, shifting their factories across the border for easier access to lower-cost labor when Hong Kong reverted to China. Even today it is easily possible to buy all manner of fake and copied Western products on the streets in Hong Kong, while the Western media have not a word of criticism. The hypocrisy is deafening.

It’s worthy of special note that foreigners – at least some foreigners – can loot Hong Kong citizens even more rapaciously than the local oligarchy. China, due to its oversight of its own money and economy, suffered little from the 2008 US financial meltdown. Unfortunately, our “free, democratic, and American” Hong Kong didn’t fare quite as well. A great many Hong Kong residents were cheated out of their life savings invested in bonds issued by Lehman Brothers, which were rated AAA+ by the US rating agencies, billions of US dollars worth flooding Asia and particularly Hong Kong. The US FED and the Treasury Department were fully aware of Lehman’s insolvency, the so-called ‘international bankers and investors’ dumping these bonds while plans were in progress to permit Lehman to file for bankruptcy. It was not an accident that Hong Kong citizens incurred such massive losses, the famous ‘rule of law’ nowhere to be seen. The Western media totally ignored the story. There were no videos on CNN of the elderly protesting in front of the Hong Kong Stock Exchange building, no stories in the New York Times praising these Chinese seeking justice.

The second major problem is that (under the same oligarchy control) Hong Kong is a Major Operations Base for literally countless thousands of Americans and others tasked with irritating Mainland China, destabilising the country, and blackening its name on the world stage. If people in Hong Kong had any idea of the extent of US meddling, influence and control – and financing – of their political processes if they had any idea of the extent to which they are blind puppets whose political strings are being pulled by the US government and the CIA, they would likely die of shame. It is truly unfortunate that most people in Hong Kong fail to recognise the external and foreign stimuli behind street protests, candlelight vigils, and so much more, being used as destabilisation entities targeted at Mainland China.

Hong Kong has literally hundreds of US-sponsored NGOs, plus online media, newspapers, university departments, foreign reporters, stabbing at China from underneath, all with the purpose of destabilising China and overthrowing its government. There are many dozens of Western-oriented political and propaganda organisations, staffed by foreigners and indoctrinated Hongkongnese who constantly denigrate China and push the US political and ideological agenda. To those of us resident in the Mainland, it sometimes appears that Hong Kong has been transformed into one big US war club to beat China into submission. China’s ‘reform and open’ policy has legalized foreign infiltration into every aspect of the HK economy and society, allowing Hong Kong, now officially under Chinese sovereignty, to continue to be an anti-China foreign base and a hot-bed safe haven for promoting unrest on the mainland. From the NED website alone, we can document tens of millions of dollars spent each year in Hong Kong for these purposes. The NED also spends millions of US dollars in attempts to recast its own imperial political ambitions as “protection” for the human rights of HK residents and a benevolent wish for what it terms ‘democratic representation’. It also uses Hong Kong as a base for an enormous amount of political campaigning meant to draw local HK and international attention to the political changes it hopes to effect in Hong Kong, by disguising and presenting them as human rights issues.

The US attempts to take the lead in all public debate within Hong Kong, dictating in advance the terms and conditions within which this debate will take place. The NED carries out so-called “public opinion research” and initiates organised “public debates” on Hong Kong’s political system, centering on US-dictated models of constitutional reform, with attempts to propagandise these to the Hong Kong population and try to force a consensus that these are the only models acceptable to Hong Kong residents. The NED publishes discussion papers and other information, presenting this US-selected content as the only model relevant for Hong Kong, thereby pushing to the side the wishes and aims of China’s central government. Other branches and agencies of the US government are already spending many millions of dollars propagandising Hong Kong residents, creating NGOs, organising protest groups and other mechanisms to create potentially serious disruptions in Hong Kong in order to force political changes that would benefit US foreign policy interests.

The range of interference is unimaginable to an average Westerner. George Soros funds the so-called China Media Project, run by David Bandurski at Hong Kong University, tasked with trashing Mainland China. It was Bandurski who fabricated the stories of China’s “50-cent army”, claiming China’s government had hired 280,000 people who were paid US.50 for each favorable internet post about China. The game succeeded for years until someone published screen shots of the Israel government actually and literally offering all Jewish university students US.50 for every post made that favored Israel. At that point, Bandurski’s false claims disappeared overnight. As another example, the US government has sponsored several ‘speakers bureaux’ with an imaginatively seditious nature, and staffed by former US diplomatic and White House personnel. The plan is to recruit middle-level Chinese officials and businessmen to profit from invitations as speakers at a multitude of events. Given their lack of experience, the bureau managers provide not only appropriate topics but a handy outline of the speeches, replete with not-too-veiled demands for the removal of China’s government system, for the abolition of China’s SOEs, for the fire sales of China’s infrastructure to European bankers, and much more. If successful, the US will have thousands of unwitting Chinese traveling their country while selling their own countrymen the American road to destruction.

These plans involve not only propaganda but violence. We have seen plenty of that in Hong Kong in recent months, but there was more we haven’t seen. It wasn’t reported in the Western media, but during the ‘Occupy Central’ demonstrations several years ago, Hong Kong police discovered caches of bomb-making equipment that included very high-explosive materials, and masks bearing the likeness of Guy Fawkes, who was behind a failed plot to blow up Britain’s Parliament. At the same location, police also found maps of the Wan Chai and Admiralty neighborhoods, locations of the city legislature and government headquarters and also the Mainland Chinese Army base. Officials concluded at the time that the CIA had produced a small core of fanatics and supplied them with materials and instruction for committing grave acts of violence.

China’s wish several years ago to include what the West termed “communist propaganda” in Hong Kong schools, was more an attempt to introduce the truth of Hong Kong’s history to the people of Hong Kong, the resulting demonstrations against this effort clearly having been directed from outside, and for obvious reasons. The 2019 protests were triggered initially by Mainland China’s request for an extradition bill with Hong Kong, a request hardly unusual since all nations have extradition agreements between states and provinces. The reason is that if someone commits a crime in New York and then runs to Virginia, the NYC police have no authority in that state and cannot simply cross the border to search and arrest, but must rely on local law enforcement. Hence, the extradition agreements. Further, China has several good reasons for wanting such agreements with Hong Kong and Taiwan. For one, more than a few Mainland Chinese businessmen or government officials have embezzled money or defrauded investors, then fled to Hong Kong to live the good life free of repatriation fears. Understandably, China would like those individuals brought back home to stand trial. A similar problem, and perhaps larger, is that more than a few Hong Kong residents have travelled to the Mainland, committed fairly large numbers of imaginative and not-so-imaginative crimes, primarily large-scale fraud but also including espionage and murder, then fled back to Hong Kong, again out of reach of the Mainland Chinese police.

There is however a third category, one not mentioned in the media, that was the likely cause of the US so ardently fanning the flames for this latest series of riots. The Americans have a huge contingent in Hong Kong (about 80,000 people, few of whom are businessmen), beginning with the US Consulate but extending very much farther with the media, the NED, and the entire alphabet soup of US-based NGOs, George Soros’ Hong Kong Media Project, and many more, mostly but not all CIA-funded, on a permanent mission to stab at Mainland China from its underbelly of Hong Kong. Much of what these people do, is illegal, against HK law, Mainland China law, and international law, but they are protected in Hong Kong by US government pressure and, without an extradition treaty, they cannot be sent to China and be brought to trial. The Americans needed for their own sake to kill that extradition bill, and they succeeded. The enormous violence they instigated will likely ensure that bill won’t be introduced again for a long time, if ever.

I will say that Hong Kong was one of my favorite cities 20 or 30 years ago. At the time, I thought it a great city and full of life. Those days are gone. I have been to Hong Kong 50 or more times, the experience quality slowly degrading until now it is mostly unpleasant, and especially so for Mainland Chinese who are very often insulted, abused, spat upon, and sometimes assaulted, by the same young students today seeking “democracy and freedom” by torching subway stations.


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