The 1898 Convention, which ceded additional parts of Hong Kong (the New Territories) to Britain for 99 years, excluded the walled city of about 700 inhabitants. It said that China could continue to hold troops there as long as they did not interfere in Britain`s temporary rule. The date, which marks 50 years since Britain handed over Hong Kong to China, will also result in the legal expiration of the “One Country, Two Systems” experiment, which guarantees the former colony`s autonomy. Negotiated by Deng Xiaoping and Margaret Thatcher in the 1980s, it forces Beijing to guarantee political and economic freedoms in the city that are not granted to mainland China`s 1.4 billion people. The relationship between Hong Kong and mainland China is far more complex than most people realize. It`s about politics, economics, trade, laws and, above all, people. The so-called “Hong Kongers,” who have lived for years under the influence and ways of the former British leader, are wary of China`s intentions and outraged by mainland interference in its political affairs. On June 30, 1997, when the clock fell at midnight, the blue British sign flying over Victoria Harbor was lowered and the red flag of Hong Kong orchids was raised. The UK has returned Hong Kong to Chinese sovereignty after more than 150 years of colonial rule. That`s when One Country, Two Systems (1C2S) came into effect, the agreement that governs relations between Hong Kong and the Chinese central government until 2047. Today, however, 1C2S` long-term prospects remain uncertain, with Beijing increasingly burdening control and influence over the territory. Nevertheless, China`s interests in ensuring the rule of law necessary for a global financial center, meeting its international obligations, and persevering the Taiwan issue will ensure 1C2S` endurance until 2047 and possibly beyond. The ban banned anyone who claims to be a member of the HKNP or provides any assistance to the party, under penalty of a fine and penalties of up to two years in prison.
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