Hong Kong's Reunion with China: The Global Dimensions

By Gerard A. Postiglione; James T. H. Tang | Go to book overview

1
Global Implications of Hong Kong's Retrocession to Chinese Sovereignty

Ming K. Chan

Despite Beijing's repeated insistence that Hong Kong's retrocession to Chinese sovereignty on July 1, 1997, after 155 years of British colonial rule, is strictly a "bilateral matter" between the governments of the two sovereign powers--the People's Republic of China (PRC) and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland (UK)--Hong Kong's current transition toward 1997 is in many respects a serious matter of global concern. In fact, the current life and work, as well as the future prospects, of the six million residents in this highly internationalized, semi-autonomous city-state have already been profoundly shaped by this transitional process, which spans from 1984, when the Sino-British Joint Declaration was signed, to 1997, when Hong Kong will become a Special Administrative Region (SAR) of the PRC. This transitional process and Hong Kong's 1997 SAR status naturally have direct and multifold bearings on the economic and strategic interests of Hong Kong's many global partners.

From a global perspective, Hong Kong's importance comes from its role as the eighth largest world trade entity; as the gateway to mainland China; as the busiest container port and fourth-ranking financial center in the world; as a rising star among the four Little Dragons of Asia; and as the international trade, service, and communications hub strategically located at the heart of the Pacific Rim. Hong Kong is a spectacularly successful example of free trade, market economy, and private enterprise, and an open, pluralistic, and dynamic society worthy of study and emulation by other developing communities and economies.

While maintaining extensive linkages in trade, transportation, communications, finance, investment, migration, tourism, education, cultural exchanges, and other spheres with the outside world, Hong Kong is also becoming increasingly

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