Hong Kong Returns to China: Part 2 of 2

The history of democracy in Hong Kong is so short, it never existed. How can you lose something you never had?

On December 19, 1984, British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher and Chinese Premier Zhao Ziyang signed the Sino-British Joint Declaration, in which Britain agreed to return not only the New Territories but also Kowloon and Hong Kong itself when the 99-year lease expired on July 1, 1997. China promised to implement a “One Country, Two Systems” regime, under which for fifty years Hong Kong citizens could continue to practice capitalism and political freedoms forbidden on the mainland.


The video is included to learn what happened to Hong Kong and not as an indictment of China.

However, for most of its history under British rule, executive power in Hong Kong was concentrated in the hands of the colony’s governor, a position appointed by the British crown without any elections or democratic input from Hong Kong’s citizens.

The introduction of representatives determined by local elections, even limited to the role of “advisory councils”, did not begin until after the 1984 agreements by the British to return Hong Kong to China.

Since democracy in Hong Kong never existed under British rule until after 1984, why did the British add it before they returned Hong Kong to China?

Return to or start reading Part 1

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Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of My Splendid Concubine, Crazy is Normal, Running with the Enemy, and The Redemption of Don Juan Casanova.

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