This Day in History: British Handover Hong Kong to China

By Adrienne Hoe, July 1, 2022

0 0

On July 1, 1997, China resumed its control of Hong Kong after 156 years of British rule. On June 30, a day before the official handover, the Union Jack was lowered at the Government House in Central for the final time.


Hong Kong returned to China

The British took over Hong Kong Island in 1842, after China relinquished its power to the British to bring an end to the first Opium War (1839-1842).

Historically, China produced enough local goods to be a self-sufficient country and Europeans were not allowed to have access to China for trade. 

In the early to mid-18th century, China allowed trade to Europe, but only through the Canton System. This controlled trade only went in through the port of Canton (now Guangzhou).

The system became imbalanced, however, as China had little interest in importing Western goods and demanded all payments to be made in silver. That led the East India Tea Company to import opium into China to sell in exchange for silver. Though China prohibited opium imports, trade persisted, which eventually led to an opioid addiction epidemic.

To end the second Opium War (1856-1860), Kowloon was also ceded to the British. When the land was handed over, the Chinese and British agreed on a 99-year lease on the land, which would set it to be returned in 1997.

Hong Kong handed back to China 1997
June 30, 1997. Chris Patten, the last British governor of Hong Kong, receiving the Union Jack flag after it had been lowered for the final time.

In 1984, 13 years before the handover of Hong Kong back to China, the Sino-British joint declaration was signed for China to gain partial control of Hong Kong, and that it would be one country under two political systems. It paved the way to the eventual return of Hong Kong to China over a decade later. 

On July 1, 1997 Chris Patten gave his farewell speech, saying: "Today is a day of celebration, not sorrow." 

READ MORE: Andrew Bull's Hong Kong Handover Party of 1997

Hong Kong handed back to China 1997President Jiang Zemin shaking hands with Prince Charles.

Hong-Kong-Handover.jpg

During the handover, thousands of troops from the People's Liberation Army entered Hong Kong via land, air and sea as a symbol of power.


For more This Day in History stories, click here.

more news

5 Things: Andrew Bull's Hong Kong Handover Party of 1997

The largest rave Hong Kong has ever seen.

Meet Allan Zeman, Hong Kong's Mr. Lan Kwai Fong

We know of very few people as devoted to their city as Dr. Allan Zeman.

What You Need to Know About the New Hong Kong Tech Index

The index is comprised of the 30 largest Hong Kong listed technology companies.

This Day in History: Weibo Launched in China

Weibo’s start came at a turbulent time as both Twitter and Fanfou were temporarily blocked in June 2009.

This Day in History: The 2008 Beijing Olympics Opening Ceremony

A look back at the first ever Olympics to be hosted in China.

This Day In History: Korean War's Operation Big Switch

The repatriation of remaining prisoners from both sides of the Korean War came with a few surprises.

Explainer: The Story of Qixi, AKA Chinese Valentine's Day

The Disney-worthy tale of the weaving girl and the cowherd.

This Day in History: The Foreign Founder Member of the CPC

The Dutch socialist who attended the First National Congress of the CPC.

0 User Comments

In Case You Missed It…

We're on WeChat!

Scan our QR Code at right or follow us at thatsonline for events, guides, giveaways and much more!

7 Days in China With thatsmags.com

Weekly updates to your email inbox every Wednesday

Subscribe

Download previous issues

Never miss an issue of That's Magazines!

Visit the archives