Convention for the Extension of Hong Kong Territory

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Convention for the Extension of Hong Kong Territory
The Convention for the Extension of Hong Kong Territory (Ch'ing version).png
Traditional Chinese 《中英展拓香港界址專條》
Simplified Chinese 《中英展拓香港界址专条》
Britain acquired Hong Kong Island in 1842, Kowloon Peninsula in 1860, and leased the New Territories rent-free in 1898. Acquisition of Hong Kong.svg
Britain acquired Hong Kong Island in 1842, Kowloon Peninsula in 1860, and leased the New Territories rent-free in 1898.

The Convention between the United Kingdom and China, Respecting an Extension of Hong Kong Territory, [2] commonly known as the Convention for the Extension of Hong Kong Territory or the Second Convention of Peking, was a lease signed between Qing China and the United Kingdom on 9 June 1898. [3] The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of China now keeps the original copy of the Convention in the National Palace Museum in Taiwan. [3]

Contents

Background

In the wake of China's defeat in the First Sino-Japanese War (18941895), the British took advantage of the other European powers' scramble to carve up the country and forced the treaty on the weakened Chinese government. [4]

Between 6 March and 8 April 1898, the German government forced the Qing Empire into a 99-year lease of the Kiautschou Bay concession for a coaling station around Jiaozhou Bay on the southern coast of the Shandong Peninsula, to support a German global naval presence in direct opposition to the British network of global naval bases. This initiated a series of similar lease treaties with other European powers. On 27 March 1898, the Convention for the Lease of the Liaotung Peninsula was signed between the Russian Empire and the Qing Empire, granting Russia a 25-year lease of Port Arthur and Dalian, to support Russia's Chinese Eastern Railway interests in Manchuria. Consequently on 28 March 1898, Britain, anxious of the Russian presence in China, pressured the Qing Empire into leasing of Weihaiwei, which had been captured by the Empire of Japan in the Battle of Weihaiwei, the last major battle of the First SinoJapanese War, for as long as the Russians occupying Port Arthur, to make checks and balances of Russia. During the negotiation, the British stated that they would further request for leasing of land if any foreign concession took place in Southern China.

On 10 April 1898, the French, who also desired Chinese territory, forced the Qing Empire into a 99-year lease of Kwang-Chou-Wan to France to support France in southern China and Indochina. In order to maintain the balance of powers, Britain ordered Claude Maxwell MacDonald to pressure Qing Empire into allowing the expansion of Hong Kong for 200 miles (320 km). As a result, the Convention for the Extension of Hong Kong Territory was signed on 9 June 1898 in Beijing (Peking). [5] The contract was signed to give the British full jurisdiction of the newly acquired land that was necessary to ensure proper military defence of the colony around the island. [6] Some of the earliest proposals for the land's usage in 1894 included cemetery space, an exercise ground for British troops as well as land for development. From the British perspective concerns over security and territorial defence provided the major impetus for the agreement. [5]

Terms

Under the convention the territories north of what is now Boundary Street and south of the Sham Chun River, and the surrounding islands, later known as the "New Territories" were leased to the United Kingdom for 99 years rent-free, [1] expiring on 30 June 1997, and became part of the crown colony of Hong Kong. [6] The Kowloon Walled City was excepted and remained under the control of Qing China. The territories which were leased to the United Kingdom were originally governed by Xin'an County, Guangdong province. Claude MacDonald, the British representative during the convention, picked a 99-year lease because he thought it was "as good as forever". [7] Britain did not think they would ever have to give the territories back. The 99-year lease was a convenient agreement.

Result

Some of the land under the convention remains rural and it is home to virtually all of Hong Kong's remaining farmland. However, as the city districts have become increasingly crowded the government has developed urban areas since the 1950s. Particularly, the areas closest to Kowloon have become integrated into Kowloon districts and are no longer administratively included in the New Territories. Due to continuing population growth and crowding in the inner city, the New Territories satellite cities grew increasingly important to the point where a slight majority of the population now lives there.

This made it unfeasible to return the leased land alone as it would have split Hong Kong into two parts. The Chinese also started to pressure the British to return all of Hong Kong, taking the position that they would not accept so-called "unequal treaties" that were imposed on them by colonial powers.

The governments of the United Kingdom and the People's Republic of China (PRC) concluded the Sino-British Joint Declaration in 1984, under which the sovereignty of the leased territories, together with Hong Kong Island and Kowloon (south of Boundary Street) ceded under the Treaty of Nanking (1842) and Convention of Peking (1860), was scheduled to be transferred to the PRC on 1 July 1997. [6] The territory was then transferred as scheduled.

End of agreement

In the Treaty of Nanking, in 1842, the Qing government agreed to make Hong Kong a Crown colony, ceding it 'in perpetuity', following British victory in the First Opium War. During the second half of the 19th century, Britain had become concerned over the security of the isolated island, Hong Kong. Consequently, in Convention of Peking, following British victory in the Second Opium War, Britain gained a perpetual lease over the Kowloon Peninsula. The New Territories, with a 99-year lease, were the only territories forming the Crown colony of Hong Kong, that were obliged by agreement, to be returned. However, by the time of serious negotiations in the 1980s, it was seen as impractical to separate the ceded territories and return only the New Territories to China, due to the scarcity of resources in Hong Kong and Kowloon, and the large developments in the New Territories. Consequently, at midnight following the evening of 30 June 1997, the entire crown colony of Hong Kong officially reverted to Chinese sovereignty, ending 156 years of British rule.

See also

Related Research Articles

Treaty of Nanking Treaty regarding Hong Kong Island signed by Qing dynasty of China and Britain in 1842 after the First Opium War.

The Treaty of Nanking (Nanjing) was a peace treaty which ended the First Opium War (1839–1842) between the United Kingdom and China on 29 August 1842. It was the first of what the Chinese later called the unequal treaties.

New Territories Region of Hong Kong

The New Territories is one of the three main regions of Hong Kong, alongside Hong Kong Island and the Kowloon Peninsula. It makes up 86.2% of Hong Kong's territory, and contains around half of the population of Hong Kong. Historically, it is the region described in the Convention for the Extension of Hong Kong Territory. According to that treaty, the territories comprise the mainland area north of Boundary Street on the Kowloon Peninsula and south of the Sham Chun River, as well as over 200 outlying islands, including Lantau Island, Lamma Island, Cheung Chau, and Peng Chau in the territory of Hong Kong.

Convention of Peking Three treaties signed by Qing dynasty of China in 1860, after the end of Second Opium War (1856–1860), respectively with United Kingdom (ceding Kowloon Peninsula), Russian Empire (ceding Outer Manchuria), and Second French Empire. Three of the second series of unequal treaties in modern Chinese history.

The Convention of Peking or First Convention of Peking is an agreement comprising three distinct treaties concluded between the Qing dynasty of China and Great Britain, France, and Russian Empire in 1860. In China, they are regarded as among the unequal treaties. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of China keeps the original copy of the convention in the National Palace Museum in Taiwan.

Unequal treaty is the name given by the Chinese to a series of treaties signed between the Qing dynasty and various Western powers, the Russian Empire, and the Empire of Japan during the 19th and early 20th centuries. The agreements, often reached after a military defeat, contained one-sided terms requiring China to cede land, pay reparations, open treaty ports, or grant extraterritorial privileges to foreign citizens.

Boundary Street Street in Kowloon, Hong Kong

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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. 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.

New Kowloon area in Hong Kong, China

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History of Hong Kong Aspect of history

The region of Hong Kong has been inhabited since the Old Stone Age, later becoming part of the Chinese empire with its loose incorporation into the Qin dynasty. Starting out as a farming fishing village and salt production site, it became an important free port and eventually a major international financial centre.

Handover of Hong Kong Transfer of sovereignty of Hong Kong to China

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The act of cession is the assignment of property to another entity. In international law it commonly refers to land transferred by treaty. Ballentine's Law Dictionary defines cession as "a surrender; a giving up; a relinquishment of jurisdiction by a board in favor of another agency." In contrast with annexation, where property is forcibly seized, cession is voluntary or at least apparently so.

In international relations, a concession is a "synallagmatic act by which a State transfers the exercise of rights or functions proper to itself to a foreign private person which, in turn, participates in the performance of public functions and thus gains a privileged position vis-a-vis other private law subjects within the jurisdiction of the State concerned." International concessions are not defined in international law and do not generally fall under it. Rather, they are governed by the municipal law of the conceding state. There may, however, be a law of succession for such concessions, whereby the concession is continued even when the conceding state ceases to exist.

A 99-year lease was, under historic common law, the longest possible term of a lease of real property. It is no longer the law in most common law jurisdictions today, yet 99-year leases continue to be common as a matter of business practice and conventional wisdom.

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Events from the year 1898 in China (戊戌).

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Six-Day War (1899) Six-Day

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References

  1. 1 2 "Hong Kong Journal". 17 February 2008. Archived from the original on 17 February 2008.
  2. http://ebook.lib.hku.hk/HKG/B36227845.pdf
  3. 1 2 Museum, National Palace (9 August 2011). "A Century of Resilient Tradition: Exhibition of the Republic of China's Diplomatic Archives _Lessons of History". National Palace Museum.
  4. China Foreign Policy and Government Guide: Strategic Information and Developments. 1. 2011. ISBN   9781433006869.
  5. 1 2 Anand, R.P. (2003) Cultural Factors in International Relations, Abhinav Publications. ISBN   81-7017-134-2
  6. 1 2 3 Ghai, Yash P. (1999) Hong Kong's New Constitutional Order: The Resumption of Chinese Sovereignty and the Basic Law, HK University Press. ISBN   962-209-463-5
  7. Preston, Diana (2000). The Boxer Rebellion. Bloomsbury Publishing USA. ISBN   0802713610. p. 370.