|Joint Declaration of the Government of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and the Government of the People's Republic of China on the Question of Hong Kong|
|Signed||19 December 1984|
|Location||Beijing, People's Republic of China|
|Effective||27 May 1985|
|Condition||Signatories to confirm|
|Parties|| United Kingdom |
People's Republic of China
|Sino–British Joint Declaration|
|Joint Declaration of the Government of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and the Government of the People's Republic of China on the Question of Hong Kong|
| Politics and government |
of Hong Kong
|Related topics Hong Kongportal|
|This article is part of a series on the|
|History of Hong Kong|
The Sino-British Joint Declaration is a treatysigned by the United Kingdom and China on the governance of Hong Kong under Chinese sovereignty after 1 July 1997, when the lease of the New Territories was set to expire according to the Convention for the Extension of Hong Kong Territory.
The Joint Declaration was signed on 19 December 1984 in Beijing by Premier Zhao Ziyang of the State Council of China and Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher of United Kingdom on behalf of their governments. It took effect when the Chinese and British governments exchanged the instruments of ratification on 27 May 1985, and it was registered at the United Nations on 12 June 1985.
In the treaty, the Chinese government stated that it would resume the exercise of its sovereignty over Hong Kong, including the leased New Territories and the British territories of Hong Kong Island and Kowloon from 1 July 1997, while the British Government declared that it would hand Hong Kong to China on the same day.
The Chinese government also declared its basic policies on Hong Kong in the document. In accordance with the "one country, two systems" principle agreed between the UK and China, the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) would not practise the socialist system in mainland China, and Hong Kong's existing capitalist system and way of life would be unchanged for 50 years until 2047. The Joint Declaration requires these basic policies to be written in the Hong Kong Basic Law.
In 2014 China declared the treaty "void."In 2017 it reiterated this position, stating that following Hong Kong's transfer of sovereignty, it regarded the treaty as a "historical document that no longer had any practical significance." The UK disagreed, stating that it is a "legally valid treaty to which it was committed to upholding".
The background of the Sino-British Joint Declaration was the pending expiration of the lease of the New Territories on 1 July 1997.The lease was negotiated between the UK and the Guangxu Emperor of China, and was for a period of 99 years starting from 1 July 1898 under the Second Convention of Peking. At the time of the lease signing, Hong Kong Island had already been ceded to the UK in perpetuity under the Treaty of Nanjing in 1842 after the First Opium War, and the southern part of the Kowloon Peninsula as well as the Stonecutters Island had also been ceded to the UK in perpetuity under the Convention of Beijing in 1860 after the Second Opium War.
The prospect of Hong Kong's return to Chinese rule – by negotiation or by force – had been a concern throughout British rule. These concerns briefly subsided after 1967 as mainland China was thrown into disarray with the Cultural Revolution, while the corresponding Hong Kong 1967 leftist riots resulted in a loss of native Hong Kong support for returning to PRC rule, and brought international sympathy to the side of the British colonial government. By 1979, China had restored its political order and became more assertive in neighboring affairs, notably intervening in Vietnam in 1979. Throughout the early 1980s the territory and its business community grew concerned about the future of Hong Kong.These concerns, regarding the status of property rights and contracts, were spurred by political uncertainty surrounding the scheduled reversion of the New Territories to the PRC. In March 1979, the Governor of Hong Kong, Murray MacLehose, visited Beijing. During this visit, informal talks about the future of Hong Kong began. Upon his return, MacLehose attempted to allay investors' worries about the scheduled reversion, but reiterated that the PRC asserted its intention to regain sovereignty over Hong Kong. The first formal negotiations began with chairman Deng Xiaoping of the Central Military Commission during the visit of the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, Margaret Thatcher, to China in September 1982.
During the following discussions, where the Governor of Hong Kong took part in every round of formal talks as a member of the British delegation, it became clear that the continuation of British administration after 1997 would not be acceptable to China in any form.The Chinese government has consistently taken the view that the whole of Hong Kong should be Chinese territory, due to them being acquired through the inequality of historical treaties. As a result, the two sides discussed possible measures besides continued British administration, and came up with the concept of Hong Kong as a Special Administration Region of the PRC. In April 1984, the two sides concluded the initial discussion of these matters, and arranged that Hong Kong would retain a 'high' degree of autonomy under Chinese sovereignty with the preservation of the maintained lifestyle in Hong Kong. By 18 September 1984, both sides had approved the English and Chinese texts of the documents and the associated Exchange of Memoranda.
The signing of the Joint Declaration caused some controversy in Britain because UK's Conservative Party Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher was agreeing with the China's Communist government represented by Deng Xiaoping.In the White Paper that contained the Joint Declaration, it was declared by Her Majesty's Government that "the alternative to acceptance of the present agreement is to have no agreement", a statement meant as a rebuttal to criticisms that the declaration had made too many concessions to China, and hinting at China's significant leverage during the negotiations.
Some political analysts thought that there was an urgency to make an agreement because there were fears that without a treaty the economy in Hong Kong would collapse in the 1980s. Concerns about land ownership in the leased New Territories also added to the problem. Although discussions on the future of Hong Kong had started in the late 1970s, the final timing of the Joint Declaration was more affected by property and economic factors rather than geopolitical necessities.
The Sino-British Joint Declaration consists of eight paragraphs, three Annexes about the Basic Policies regarding Hong Kong, the Sino–British Joint Liaison Group and the Land Leases as well as the two Memoranda of the two sides. Each part has the same status, and "The whole makes up a formal international agreement, legally binding in all its parts. An international agreement of this kind is the highest form of commitment between two sovereign states."Within these declarations the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region shall be directly under the authority of the Central People's Government of the PRC and shall enjoy a high degree of autonomy except for foreign and defence affairs. It shall be allowed to have executive, legislative and independent judicial power, including that of final adjudication. The Basic Law explains that in addition to Chinese, English may also be used in organs of government and that apart from the national flag and national emblem of the PRC the HKSAR may use a regional flag and emblem of its own. It shall maintain the capitalist economic and trade systems previously practised in Hong Kong. The third paragraph lists the PRC's basic policies regarding Hong Kong:
The Government of the United Kingdom will be responsible for the administration of Hong Kong with the object of maintaining and preserving its economic prosperity and social stability until 30 June 1997 and the Government of the PRC will give its co-operation in this connection.
Furthermore, this declaration regulates the right of abode, those of passports and immigration. All Chinese nationals who were born or who have ordinarily resided in Hong Kong for a continuous period of seven years or more are qualified to obtain permanent identity cards. Those cardholders can also get a passport of the HKSAR, which is valid for all states and regions. But the entry into the HKSAR of persons from other parts of China shall continue to be regulated in accordance with the present practice.
This annexe is called the Elaboration by the government of the People's Republic of China of its basic policies regarding Hong Kong. It is partly mentioned in the summary above and deals in detail with the way Hong Kong will work after 1 July 1997. The annexe consist of following sections:
Annex II set up the Sino–British Joint Liaison Group. That group came into force at 1 July 1988 and continued its work until 1 January 2000. Its functions were
This Group was an organ for liaison and not of power, where each side could send up to 20 supporting staff members. It should meet at least once in each of the three locations (Beijing, London and Hong Kong) in each year. From 1 July 1988 onwards it was based in Hong Kong. It should also assist the HKSAR to maintain and develop economic and cultural relations and conclude agreements on these matters with states, regions and relevant international organisations and could therefore set up specialist sub-groups. Between 1985 and 2000 the Joint Liaison Group held 47 plenary meetings whereof 18 were held in Hong Kong, 15 in London and 14 in Beijing.
One of the main achievements had been to ensure the continuity of the independent judiciary in Hong Kong, including agreements in the areas of law of Merchant Shipping, Civil Aviation, Nuclear Material, Whale Fisheries, Submarine Telegraph, Outer Space and many others. Furthermore, it agreed to a network of bilateral agreements between Hong Kong and other countries. Within those agreements were reached on the continued application of about 200 international conventions to the HKSAR after 30 June 1997. Hong Kong should also continue to participate in various international organisations after the handover.
According to the Land Leases annexe, all leased lands granted by the British Hong Kong Government which extend beyond 30 June 1997, and all rights in relation to such leases, shall continue to be recognised and protected under the law of the HKSAR for a period expiring not longer than 30 June 2047. Furthermore, a Land Commission shall be established with equal number of officials from the Government of the United Kingdom and the Government of the PRC which was dissolved on 30 June 1997. This commission was established in 1985 and met in Hong Kong for 35 formal meetings and agreed on 26 legal documents, within the granting of the land required for the new airport at Chek Lap Kok in 1994.
In this memorandum the Government of the United Kingdom declared that all persons who hold British Dependent Territories citizenship (BDTCs) through an affiliation with Hong Kong would cease to be BDTCs on 1 July 1997. After the declaration, the Hong Kong Act 1985 and the Hong Kong (British Nationality) Order, 1986 created the category British National (Overseas). BDTCs were allowed to apply for British National (Overseas) status until July 1997, but this status does not in of itself grant the right of abode anywhere, including the United Kingdom and Hong Kong. After the handover, most former BDTCs became citizens of the People's Republic of China. Any who were ineligible for PRC citizenship and who had not applied for BN(O) status automatically became British Overseas citizens.
"Under the National Law of the PRC, all Hong Kong Chinese compatriots, whether they are holders of the 'British Dependent Territories Citizens' Passport' or not, are Chinese nationals." Those people who use travel documents issued by the Government of the United Kingdom are permitted to use them for the purpose of travelling to other states and regions, but they will not be entitled to British consular protection in the HKSAR and other parts of the PRC.
After signing of the declaration, the Sino–British Joint Liaison Group was set up according to the Annex II of the declaration.
The transfer of sovereignty of Hong Kong (referred to as the "return" or "handover" by the Chinese and British press respectively) occurred as scheduled on 1 July 1997. Since the return just a few things changed, such as the flag of Hong Kong and the Prince of Wales Building being renamed the People's Liberation Army Building. Post boxes were repainted green, as per the practice in China. Street names have remained unchanged and the Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club has kept its "Royal" prefix, although the Hong Kong Jockey Club and other institutions have given up this title.
After the Asian financial crisis in 1997 the Hong Kong measures were taken with the full co-operation of the Central Chinese government. This did not mean that the Chinese government dictated what to do and therefore still followed the points of the declaration.
Despite this autonomy, the government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region sometimes sought interference from the Central Chinese government. For example, in 1999 the government of the HKSAR asked China's State Council to seek an interpretation by the National People's Congress Standing Committee on a provision in the Basic Law. The original decision reached by the Hong Kong Court of Final Appeal was seen as problematic by the HKSAR government as it would have allowed up to 1.6 million mainland immigrants to enter Hong Kong. The Chinese authorities obliged and the Hong Kong court's judgment was overturned, stopping the potential immigration.
Pressures from the mainland government were also apparent, for example in 2000, after the election of pro-independence candidate Chen Shui-bian as Taiwan's president, a senior mainland official in Hong Kong warned journalists not to report the news. Another senior official advised businessmen not to do business with pro-independence Taiwanese.
With this and other changes, [ opinion ]ten years after the return, in 2007, The Guardian wrote that on the one hand, "nothing has changed since the handover to China 10 years ago", but this was in comparison to the situation before the last governor Chris Patten had introduced democratic reforms three years before the handover. A chance for democracy had been lost as Hong Kong had just begun to develop three vital elements for a western-style democracy (the rule of law, official accountability and a political class outside the one-party system) but the Sino–British deal had prevented any of these changes to continue according to Jonathan Fenby of The Guardian.
Wu Bangguo, the chairman of the National People's Congress Standing Committee stated in a conference in Beijing 2007, that "Hong Kong had considerable autonomy only because the central government had chosen to authorize that autonomy".
In 2014, against the backdrop of Umbrella Revolution, the British Foreign Affairs Select Committee was banned by China from entering Hong Kong on their planned visit in December as part of their inquiry into progress of the implementation of the Sino-British Joint Declaration. In an emergency parliamentary debate about the unprecedented ban, the chairman on the committee Richard Ottaway revealed that Chinese officials consider the Joint Declaration "now void and only covered the period from the signing in 1984 until the handover in 1997."
In 2016, Caroline Wilson, who was the British Consul-General to Hong Kong and Macao, said the Causeway Bay Books disappearances was a violation of the Joint declaration.Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond echoed the Counsul-General by stating the breach of Joint declaration in The Six-monthly Report on Hong Kong:
In July 2017, when British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson urged democratic progress in Hong Kong,China's foreign ministry spokesman Lu Kang said the legally binding Hong Kong handover treaty with Britain 'as a historical document, no longer has any practical significance,' and that 'It is not at all binding for the central government's management over Hong Kong. The UK has no sovereignty, no power to rule and no power to supervise Hong Kong after the handover.' In response the British Foreign office said: "It is a legally binding treaty, registered with the UN and continues to be in force. As a co-signatory, the UK government is committed to monitoring its implementation closely." Johnson restated Britain's commitment to Hong Kong is enshrined in the "treaty" that was "just as strong today" as it was 20 years ago. However, Chinese officials have warned against foreign interference and have accused British officials of harboring a colonial mindset.
In August 2019, US Vice-President Mike Pence urged China to respect Hong Kong laws amid Hong Kong protests and the China-US trade war. Chinese media CCTV responded that the treaty is "a historical document", and has been "invalid and expired" for a long time. It claims that it is "shameful" and "ridiculous" for the United States to "interfere with China's internal affairs" with such a document.
One of five points agreed at the issue of the 45th G7 summit was that:
The G7 reaffirms the existence and importance of the Sino-British Joint Declaration of 1984 on Hong Kong and appeals for avoidance of violence.
On 27 August 2019, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) of the PRC officially asserted that no country or organization in the world has the right to interfere in China's internal affairs.
On 3 September 2019, US Senator Marco Rubio wrote in an opinion piecefor the Washington Post:
Most obviously, the Chinese Communist Party is preventing the city’s government from acting with the autonomy that Beijing had promised it in a legally binding 1984 international treaty with Britain, under Hong Kong’s Basic Law, and in China’s diplomatic outreach to the United States and other nations.
In May and June 2020, the British expressed opposition to China implementing a Hong Kong national security law that would go against the terms of the Declaration[ original research ]. The British government announced that if the Chinese went ahead with it, the UK would extend the British National (Overseas) rights of 3 million Hong Kong residents (all those born before the transfer of sovereignty) and open a route for them to become British citizens. In response, China's foreign ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian told Britain to "step back ... otherwise there will be consequences" and said, "There is no single word or clause in the Sino-British joint declaration that entitles the UK to any responsibility for Hong Kong after its return." After the law went into effect, the British government announced Beijing breached the Joint declaration.
In June 2020, after the passing of the National Security Law, which introduced new legislature to Hong Kong, BBC and Reuters reported that certain crimes listed in the bill were seen by critics as curtailing freedom of expressionand a major violation of the Sino-British Joint Declaration, without naming or providing any specific section or article from the laws themselves. In response, the British Conservative Government proposed to extend to some Hong Kong residents rights as British nationals.
On 14 October 2020, the United States Department of State released a report in which the Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, in consultation with the Secretary of Treasury Steven Mnuchin, concluded that 10 individuals materially contributed to or attempted to materially contribute to the failure of the China to meet its obligations under the Sino–British Joint Declaration and Hong Kong's Basic Law, naming Xia Baolong, Zhang Xiaoming, Luo Huining, Carrie Lam, Teresa Cheng, Erick Tsang, Zheng Yanxiong, Eric Chan, John Lee, and Chris Tang.Xia, Zhang, and Luo were specifically accused of "issuing statements asserting its authority to supervise Hong Kong’s internal affairs in contradiction to the Basic Law and the Sino-British Joint Declaration", in reference to the roles of their respective offices. The Liaison Office of the Central People's Government and the Hong Kong and Macao Affairs Office of the State Council expressed on 17 April 2020 and 21 April 2020, respectively, that the two offices, "representating the central government, have the authority to exercise supervision in major issues involving the relationship between the central government and the HKSAR, the correct implementation of the "One Country, Two System" principle and the Basic Law, the maintenance of normal operations of political systems, the overall interests of the society, etc." The Joint Declaration states that the Hong Kong SAR will "be directly under the authority of the Central People's Government of the People's Republic of China" and "enjoy a high degree of autonomy except in foreign and defence affairs"; the text itself does not contain any language prohibiting supervision by Beijing.
Some Chinese authorities, including legal scholar Rao Geping, reject the continuing legal effect of the Joint Declaration upon the Basic Law. [ failed verification ] The difference affects the level of authority that the PRC has in making any changes to the Basic Law, and the extent of Britain's continuing oversight role.[ original research ] It is also essential in determining the Hong Kong courts' jurisdiction in issues related to PRC domestic legislation.[ original research ]
During the Umbrella Revolution in 2014, a campaign against the perceived infringements in the HKSAR by mainland China, the Joint Declaration is considered "void" by China, inferred for the first time by Chinese officials according to a British MP.A senior Hong Kong legal scholar claimed this inference as "clearly wrong", and the British foreign secretary rejected this inference, noting that the document was "a legally binding agreement that must be honoured". Rita Fan, then Hong Kong's only representative to the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress in Beijing, asserted that Britain's supervisory responsibility had lapsed and, furthermore, that the Joint Declaration does not stipulate universal suffrage.
The UK Foreign Office has repeatedly accused China of breaching the Joint Declaration since the handover of Hong Kong, two of which were described as "serious". According to London, China is now considered Beijing to be in a state of "ongoing non-compliance".
On 11 February 2011, British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond stated in the Six-Monthly Report on Hong Kong:
The full facts of the case remain unclear, but our current information indicates that Mr Lee was involuntarily removed to the mainland without any due process under Hong Kong SAR law. This constitutes a serious breach of the Sino-British Joint Declaration on Hong Kong and undermines the principle of “One Country, Two Systems” which assures Hong Kong residents of the protection of the Hong Kong legal system.
After the Hong Kong national security law went into effect on 1 July 2020 following the 2019–20 Hong Kong protests, British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab announced:
So, Mr Speaker, today, I have the depressing but necessary duty to report to the House that the enactment of this legislation, imposed by the authorities in Beijing on the people of Hong Kong, constitutes a clear and serious breach of the Joint Declaration.
On 12 November 2020, Dominic Raab again accused Beijing of breaching the declaration after 4 pro-democracy MPs in the Hong Kong Legislative Council were disqualified when the NPCSC ruled that legislators "who promote or support Hong Kong independence, refuse to recognise China's sovereignty over Hong Kong, seek foreign countries to interfere in the affairs of Hong Kong, or endanger the national security of Hong Kong" would be in breach their Parliamentary oath:
Beijing’s imposition of new rules to disqualify elected legislators in Hong Kong constitutes a clear breach of the legally binding Sino-British Joint Declaration.
The fourth accusation occurred on 13 March 2021 after the National People's Congress passed a resolution on Hong Kong electoral reform:
Beijing’s decision to impose radical changes to restrict participation in Hong Kong’s electoral system constitutes a further clear breach of the legally binding Sino-British Joint Declaration.
The politics of Hong Kong takes place in a framework of a political system dominated by its quasi-constitutional document, the Hong Kong Basic Law, its own legislature, the Chief Executive as the head of government and of the Special Administrative Region and of a politically constrained multi-party presidential system. The Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People's Republic of China is led by the Chief Executive, the head of government.
Under the Basic Law, the Hong Kong is exclusively in charge of its internal affairs and external relations, whilst the People's Republic of China is responsible for its foreign affairs and defence. As a separate customs territory, Hong Kong maintains and develops relations with foreign states and regions, and plays an active role in such international organisations as World Trade Organization (WTO) and the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) in its own right under the name of Hong Kong, China. Hong Kong participates in 16 projects of United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.
"One country, two systems" is a constitutional principle of the People's Republic of China describing the governance of Hong Kong and Macau since they became Special Administrative Regions (SARs) of China in 1997 and 1999 respectively. Since the passing of the National Security Law by Hong Kong in July 2020 however, many observers such as the United States have claimed that Hong Kong has reverted to a de facto "one country, one system." Additionally, the Hong Kong Bar Association and a number of governments have disputed the constitutionality of the law.
The Basic Law of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People's Republic of China is a national law of China that serves as the de facto constitution of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR). Comprising nine chapters, 160 articles and three annexes, the Basic Law was enacted under the Constitution of China to implement the Sino-British Joint Declaration.
A Mainland Travel Permit for Hong Kong and Macao Residents, also colloquially referred to as a Home Return Permit or Home Visit Permit, is issued to Chinese nationals who are permanent residents of or settled in Hong Kong and Macau as the travel document to Mainland China. The permit is issued by the Exit and Entry Administration of the People's Republic of China through China Travel Service sub-branches in Hong Kong and Macau and allows holders to travel freely to Mainland China.
The transfer of sovereignty over Hong Kong, commonly known as the handover of Hong Kong, was the formal passing of responsibility for the territory of Hong Kong from the United Kingdom to the People's Republic of China at midnight on 1 July 1997. This event ended 156 years of British rule in the former colony. Hong Kong was reestablished as a special administrative region of China, and largely continues to maintain its existing economic and governing systems distinct from those of mainland China.
Sir Percy Cradock was a British diplomat, civil servant and sinologist who served as British Ambassador to the People's Republic of China from 1978 to 1983, playing a significant role in the Sino-British negotiations which led up to the signing of the Sino-British Joint Declaration in 1984.
The Convention between the United Kingdom and China, Respecting an Extension of Hong Kong Territory, 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. 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.
Establishment Day, formally the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Establishment Day, is celebrated annually on 1 July in Hong Kong, China since 1997. The holiday commemorates the transfer of sovereignty over Hong Kong from the United Kingdom to the People's Republic of China and the establishment of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region. The similarly-named holiday in Macau occurs on 20 December, the day of its handover from Portugal.
The transfer of sovereignty of Macau from Portugal to the People's Republic of China (PRC) occurred on 20 December 1999.
The Joint Declaration on the Question of Macau, or Sino-Portuguese Joint Declaration, was a treaty between Portugal and the People's Republic of China over the status of Macau. The full name of the treaty is Joint Declaration of the Government of the People's Republic of China and the Government of the Portuguese Republic on the question of Macao. Signed on 26 March 1987 the Declaration established the process and conditions of the transfer of the territory from Portuguese rule to the People's Republic of China. The Joint Declaration served also as the main source of fundamental rights that were implemented in the Macau Special Administrative Region Basic Law. The process was otherwise similar to the handover of Hong Kong to Chinese sovereignty by the United Kingdom in 1997.
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Hong Kong independence is a political movement that advocates Hong Kong to be established as an independent sovereign state. Hong Kong is one of two Special administrative regions of China (SAR) which enjoys a high degree of autonomy as a part of the People's Republic of China, which is guaranteed under Article 2 of Hong Kong Basic Law as ratified under the Sino-British Joint Declaration. Since the transfer of the sovereignty of Hong Kong from the United Kingdom to the PRC in 1997, a growing number of Hongkongers have become concerned about Beijing's encroachment on the territory's freedoms and the failure of the Hong Kong government to deliver "genuine democracy".
The 1994 Hong Kong electoral reform was a set of significant constitutional changes in the last years of British colonial rule in Hong Kong before the handover of its sovereignty to the People's Republic of China (PRC) on 1 July 1997. The reform aimed at broadening the electorate base of the three-tiers elections in 1994 and 1995, namely the 1994 District Board elections, the 1995 Urban and Regional Council elections and the 1995 Legislative Council election. It was the flagship policy of the last colonial governor Chris Patten.
Hong Kong–United Kingdom relations refers to international relations between the post-colonial Hong Kong and the United Kingdom. Hong Kong was a British colony from 1841 to 1941 and again from 1945 to 1997 when sovereignty was handed over to China. UK policy towards Hong Kong is underpinned by its substantial commercial interests, and fulfilling obligation as the other signatory of Sino–British Joint Declaration on the future of Hong Kong, in addition to support Hong Kong's mini-constitution, the Basic Law, and in accordance with China's policy of observing "one country, two systems".
The Flag of Hong Kong between 1959 and 1997 was a Blue Ensign with the coat of arms of Hong Kong on a white disk. In Hong Kong, it is also nicknamed the Hong Kong flag (香港旗), British Hong Kong flag (英屬香港旗) or the Dragon and Lion flag (龍獅旗). In 1959, following a grant from the College of Arms and with the consent of Queen Elizabeth II, it was adopted as the flag of British Hong Kong. While the flag lost its official status following the 1 July 1997 transfer of sovereignty over Hong Kong, it resurfaced in the 2010s as a symbol of Hong Kong independence and protest against Chinese rule in Hong Kong.
In early May 2020, the Chinese Government announced plans to draft a new national security law for Hong Kong, something required under Hong Kong Basic Law but which should explicitly be written and enacted by Hong Kong's own government. In response to apparent mainland intent to bypass Hong Kong's local legislature, the United Kingdom – which administered Hong Kong until 1997 – announced that if a security law drafted by China was approved, Britain would open a route for all Hong Kong residents born under British rule to become British citizens. Other nations and organisations have given various responses to the decision, to legislation plans, and ultimately the law itself as passed by the Chinese Standing Committee of the National People's Congress on 28 May 2020 with 2878 votes "for", 1 vote against, and 6 blank votes. At 9:30 am, 30 June 2020, the same Standing Committee unanimously voted to enact the law. The law became effective at 11 pm on the same day.
In the subsequently postponed 2020 Hong Kong Legislative Council election, 12 opposition candidates were disqualified by the returning officers from running in the election, including four incumbent legislators, Alvin Yeung, Kwok Ka-ki, Dennis Kwok and Kenneth Leung, as well as activists Joshua Wong, Ventus Lau, Gwyneth Ho and Cheng Kam-mun and incumbent District Councillors Lester Shum, Tiffany Yuen, Fergus Leung and Cheng Tat-hung.
The Decision of the National People's Congress on Improving the Electoral System of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region was enacted on 11 March 2021 by the National People's Congress (NPC), the sole legislative body of the People's Republic of China (PRC), to "amend electoral rules and improve the electoral system of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) for its Chief Executive (CE) and the Legislative Council (LegCo), in order to ensure a system in which patriots govern Hong Kong and plug existing loopholes that allow foreign interference in Hong Kong's internal affairs."
The Boundaries of Hong Kong, officially the Boundary of the Administrative Division of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People’s Republic of China, is a regulated administrative border with border control in force under the One country, two systems constitutional principle, which separates the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region from mainland China, by land border fence of 30 kilometers and maritime boundary of 733 kilometers, enforcing a separate immigration and customs-controlled jurisdiction from mainland China.
Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt on Tuesday warned that China would face serious consequences if it failed to honour the Sino-British Joint Declaration which was signed in 1984. [...] Beijing on Wednesday lodged a strong protest with London over Hunt’s warning and accused him of still harbouring “colonial illusions”.
The next day Hunt warned Beijing that the Sino-British Joint Declaration, signed in 1984 and setting out the terms for Hong Kong’s return to Chinese sovereignty, was “to be honoured ... and if it isn’t there will be serious consequences”. [...] Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said Beijing had made “stern representations” over the comments, and accused Hunt of still harbouring “colonial illusions”.
Beijing has also accused the UK last week for a “colonial mindset” and interfering in Chinese domestic affairs after Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt urged China to uphold its end of the Joint Declaration.
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