July 1, 1997

Its 99-year lease about to expire, Great Britain agreed to end 156 years of colonial rule of Hong Kong. With a population of 5 million, it was Britain’s largest remaining colony.

• Under the terms of a “one country, two systems” model set forth in a 1984 joint declaration, Hong Kong would revert to Chinese rule but maintain for 50 years its capitalist economy, a form of democracy and a legal system modeled after that of England. As a special administrative region within China, Hong Kong’s defense and foreign policy would be run by the mainland. • In the decade since Gov. Chris Patten (pictured above) departed Government House, those promises have been largely kept. • Democracy activists continue to push for reforms, with the right to directly elect Hong Kong’s leaders at the top of their agenda.

We welcome your comments, but please adhere to our comment policy and the ABA Code of Conduct.

Commenting is not available in this channel entry.