After looking at Britain’s announcement of citizenship for Hong Kong citizens amidst draconian Chinese ‘Security Law’ and Britain’s involvement in their history since opium wars, let’s take a look at what happened after the lease of HK ended and it became a part of China.
Crux of the Matter
On 2 February 2021, the UK opened a ‘special visa scheme’ for hundreds of thousands of Hong Kong citizens. The scheme provides a chance to HK citizens to shift to the UK and eventually get British citizenship.
Read the first part of the article:: Britain-China History Amidst Possible Hong Kong Exodus
- 1984: UK and China signed the ‘Sino-British Joint Declaration’ for Hong Kong.
- As per the deal, HK became a part of China from 1 July 1997 onwards.
- However, it’d retain its “social and economic systems” for at least 50 years.
‘1 country, 2 systems’
- The arrangement of HK retaining its systems while being considered as Chinese territory was known as “1 country, 2 systems”.
- Allowed HK to continue as a capitalist economy.
- Granted free speech, press, etc not provided in mainland China.
- Relations between HK and China have been strained from the start but conflict not full-blown.
- China still effectively approved HK leaders.
- Intensified conflict since 2014, when China passed a law regarding the Chief Executive’s election.
- Earlier it had promised completely democratic election for HK by 2017.
- The law effectively allowed only Chinese approved candidates to run for the elections.
Protests have been going on in HK since 2019 when China attempted to bring the Extradition law. The final straw came in June 2020 when it passed the ‘Security Law’ in HK. It legalizes extradition and ‘hyper-surveillance’ in HK while cutting down on most of the civil rights in HK.
Read more on the Hong Kong Security Law: What Is Hong Kong Security Law And It’s History?
- Admiral Charles Elliot was a British Royal Navy officer, diplomat, and colonial administrator. He became the first Administrator of Hong Kong in 1841 while serving as both Plenipotentiary and Chief Superintendent of British Trade in China. He was a key founder in the establishment of Hong Kong as a British colony.
- ‘Unequal treaty‘ is the name given by the Chinese to a series of treaties signed between the Qing dynasty and various Western powers, Russia, 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.
- 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’.