1 Country, 2 Systems and 20 Years

Jun 30, 2017 | 16:27 GMT
The national flags of China and Hong Kong hang above the street in anticipation of the 20-year anniversary of the handover of the city from the United Kingdom.

Taxis are driven below a display of the national flags of China (red and yellow) and Hong Kong in Hong Kong on June 27, 2017, as part of preparations to mark the 20th anniversary of the city's handover from Britain to China on July 1. / AFP PHOTO / Anthony WALLACE (Photo credit should read ANTHONY WALLACE/AFP/Getty Images)


At midnight on July 1, 1997, a red banner slowly rose over the banks of Victoria Harbor. Hong Kong was now back under China's authority after more than 150 years under British rule. Nearly 20 years later, the moment lives on in the minds of many. The transfer ceremony came to symbolize the official end of China's so-called "century of humiliation," which began with the Sino-British opium wars and put the country under the thumb of successive Western and Japanese imperial forces. Overnight, the freewheeling capitalist playground of Hong Kong came under the control of an emerging socialist superpower. The "One Country, Two Systems" agreement under which China promised to preserve Hong Kong's economic and cultural conventions was to be honored for 50 years, until 2047. Now, on the eve of the turnover's 20th anniversary, Hong Kong has reached a decisive moment in its relations with Beijing....

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