On 1 July 1997, sovereignty over the British colony of Hong Kong was formally transferred to the People`s Republic of China (PRC). The region will be returned to China that day because the British lease on the New Territories, which make up most of Hong Kong`s land area, expires after ninety-nine years. Although sovereignty over Hong Kong Island and Kowloon was ceded forever to the British Crown in 1841 and 1860, the British government decided that continued detention of these small territories was not an option, either for political or economic reasons, and that the entire territory of Hong Kong would be handed over to Beijing on July 1. In this memorandum, the Government of the United Kingdom stated that all persons having the nationality of the British Territories (BDTCs) by reason of their membership in Hong Kong will no longer be BDTC on 1 July 1997. After the declaration, the Hong Kong Act 1985 and the Hong Kong Order (British Nationality) created the British National (Overseas) category in 1986. BDTCs were allowed to apply for British national (overseas) status until July 1997, but this status does not in itself grant the right to reside everywhere, including the United Kingdom and Hong Kong. After the handover, most of the former BDCs became citizens of the People`s Republic of China. Anyone who was not entitled to citizenship of the PRC and who had not applied for BN(O) status automatically became an overseas British citizen. In accordance with the Annex to land leases, all land leased by the British Government of Hong Kong after 30 June 1997 and all rights relating to such leases for a period not exceeding 30 June 2047 are recognised and protected by HKSAR Law. A Regional Commission, with an equal number of officials from the Government of the United Kingdom and the Government of the PRC, was also established, 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 as part of the allocation of the necessary country for the new Chek Lap Kok airport in 1994.
On July 1, 1997, sovereignty over the British colony of Hong Kong was officially transferred to China. The surrender raised questions about the territory`s ability to continue its economic success and maintain political freedoms and the rule of law under British rule. This paper examines the problems associated with the transfer and the prospects for Hong Kong`s viability after 1997 and its impact on Australia. In subsequent discussions, in which the Governor of Hong Kong, as a member of the British delegation, participated in all the formal round tables, it became clear that the continuation of the British Government after 1997 would not be acceptable to China at all.  The Chinese government has consistently believed that the whole of Hong Kong should be Chinese territory, given that it was acquired by the inequality of historical contracts.  As a result, the two sides discussed possible measures in addition to the continuation of the British administration and developed the concept of Hong Kong as a special administrative region of the PRC. In April 1984, the two sides closed the first discussion on these issues and agreed that Hong Kong would retain a “high” level of autonomy under Chinese sovereignty, with the maintenance of the way of life maintained in Hong Kong.  Until 18 September 27, 1984, both sides had approved the English and Chinese texts of the documents and the resulting exchange of memoranda.
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