Date of Award

Spring 1994

Document Type

Legacy Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts (BA)


Political Science


College of Humanities and Fine Arts

First Advisor

Richard O. Collin


Hong Kong, a British colony of six million people, will be transferred to Chinese control in 1997. To understand this event it is necessary to look at the history of British and Chinese relations. In the mid to late 1800's Britain, through greater military strength forced China to grant economic concessions. These included treaties ceeding Hong Kong Island and Kowloon to Britain and then renting the New Territories for 99 years. China never considered these treaties fair and the Communist regime did not even consider them valid. Yet, Hong Kong remained under British control partly because of its prosperity under British rule. Although China might not have considered the "unequal treaties" valid Britain did, so in the early 1980's Britain approached China about extending or renegotiating the lease on the New Territories. China decided at this time to regain sovereignty over Hong Kong. They wanted to incorporate it into China as a Special Administrative Region which would have a large degree of autonomy. While China has guaranteed the colony that it will have all the same freedoms as in the past and that the economic structure of Hong Kong will not be changed, not many people completely trust China. Recent events such as the Tianamen Massacre in China have caused escalating tensions in the area. As 1997 approaches Britain is trying to institute more democratic reforms in Hong Kong, but this is over the strong protests of China. Only time will tell the fate of Hong Kong.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.