Hong Kong 1997 sovereignty issue : who raised it? And could the outcome have been different?

Yiu Chung WONG

Research output: Journal PublicationsJournal Article (refereed)

23 Citations (Scopus)


Every body believes that the date supposedly to end British colonialism in Hong Kong was 29 March 1979. It was in the meeting between Deng Xiaoping then Chin’s supreme leader, and Murray MacLehose, Governor of Hong Kong, that Deng Xiaoping decided to take back Hong Kong and resume sovereignty of China. However, as tbe research reveals this was not what happened in the meeting. The paper attempts to unveil the real substance of the meeting by using the British declassified documents and memoirs of the Chinese senior officials who were in charge of Sino-British negotiation In fact, Hong Kong's fate was determined by one particular meeting after the meeting. It is argued, nonetheless, that without the incident. the date of handover might not be in 1997 but the fate of Hong Kong's return ultimately to China was irrevocable. This paper also offers an explanation on the cultural-historical forces that shaped the attitudes of both governments in resolving the sovereignty issue.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-14
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Asian Politics and History
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2014


  • Hong Kong 1997
  • sovereignty
  • MacLehose
  • unequal treaties
  • Deng Xiaoping


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