At the end of the First Opium War (1840-1842), the Qing Dynasty concluded the Treaty of Nanjing with the British Empire and ceded Hong Kong to the British Empire. After the end of the Second Opium War (1856-1860), along with the Treaty of Beijing in 1860, the Qing Dynasty leased Hong Kong in 1898 to the British Empire for 99 years until 1997.
In December 1984, a joint communique between the government leaders of the UK and China was announced, stating that the UK would return the sovereignty of Hong Kong to China on July 1, 1997, and Hong Kong would be designated as a special administrative region of the People’s Republic of China. Notably, the Chinese government pledged to preserve Hong Kong’s capitalism under its policy of ‘one country, two systems’ for 50 years until 2047. A formal handover ceremony, which was attended by Chinese President Jiang Zemin, British Prime Minister Tony Blair, Prince Charles of Wales, and other distinguished guests, was held in Hong Kong on July 1, 1997, peacefully.
However, as mentioned above, China’s new security law for Hong Kong approved by the National People’s Congress on May 28 is considered to have collapsed Hong Kong’s current status of ‘one country, two systems’ which was once guaranteed by China. Not only a great number of demonstrators in Hong Kong but also many politicians and others in the liberal countries including the UK, France and the US are now protesting against China’s new security law for Hong Kong.