When Does The Hong Kong Agreement End

On 19 December 1984, after years of negotiations, the British and Chinese leaders signed a formal pact authorizing the colony`s turnover in 1997, in exchange for formulating a Chinese Communist government policy with a “one country, two systems”. Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher called the agreement “a milestone in the life of the territory, in anglo-Chinese relations and in the history of international diplomacy.” Hu Yaobang, the general secretary of the Communist Party of China, called the signing “a day of red letters, an occasion of great joy” for one billion people in China. Negotiations between Britain and China continued until 1993, but Beijing refused to certify Patten`s plans and abandoned its initial agreement on a Legco “crossing train” to be maintained for two years after 1997. She said that the reformed Legco, elected in the 1995 elections, where the Democrats emerged as the main party (including 16 of the 20 seats elected by direct universal suffrage), would not continue after the transfer to Chinese sovereignty. Indeed, the Chinese government has established a parallel interim legislative power that will take over on 1 July 1997. Some commentators have suggested that some Legco members might be admitted to legislative power after 1997, but it is certain that none of the Democrats or other Liberal members would be among them, although such candidates won the most votes in the poll. (21) Hong Kong will therefore, after July 1997, take over the former fully designated legislative regime. For many years, Hong Kong and international investors have feared that China, with its weakened command economy, will be jealous of Hong Kong`s economic success. The fear was that if Beijing took control, its policy would precisely destroy the characteristics that made the region so attractive for investment that it would kill the goose that was putting the golden egg. Under the same agreement, Hong Kong had to pass its own national security law, which was set out in Article 23 of the Basic Law, but this was never done because of its unpopularity. In the first years after the signing of the Joint Declaration in 1984, there was little divergence between Beijing and London. While there were probably differences of opinion on the level of representation of the people in the Legislative Council, both governments agreed that after 1997, an executive government of appointed officials would prevail in the region, as was the case under colonial rule.

Both sides also worked with the understanding that Hong Kongers should be largely excluded from the negotiations on the transfer of sovereignty.

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