The handover of Hong Kong from British to Chinese rule in 1997, which anniversary will be commemorated tomorrow, presented two important features into the world’s political reality today: firstly, it signaled the end of centuries-old British Empire, once regarded as the most influential, most overpowering, and geographically largest global hegemony, holding on that title for almost two hundred years. British government, to this day, still partakes great responsibility for its 14 remaining overseas colonies (merely a large chunk of Antarctica and a few rocky islands spread on the world’s seas), whose strategic importance is now hardly matched to that of its last, most vibrant sprawling colonial metropolis. Secondly, the return of Hong Kong also becomes an early signal of what, slowly, will become of its people: that slowly but surely, this city will encounter a gradual phase of ‘total integration’ with Mainland China, one by which has become increasingly obvious recently. Feelings of anti-Chinese resentment run greatly high, and tensions, unsuccessfully curbed by the British administrators on its last days, slowly emerge on the surface.
With massive protests being planned tomorrow, in addition to other campaigns of civil disobedience and a large-scale occupation on the way in immediate effect (despite Beijing’s silent threat by means of ‘white paper’ and other pro-China’s anti-Occupy Central editorials), something the world has hardly heard even two or three years ago (there were huge protests, also, but with little international coverage), Hong Kong, tomorrow officially celebrating its 17th anniversary of Chinese retrocession, will be faced with an increasingly problematic question about the future, and its eventual existence.
And things have started to change after the videos you’ll see below:
Bonus: Former British PM, Margaret Thatcher, reflected on her decision to return Hong Kong to China, one by which she eventually, a few years later, ‘regretted’. View the video below: