Sino-British Joint Declaration
The Sino-British Joint Declaration stipulates that Hong Kong will enjoy high degree of autonomy until at least 2047, fifty years after the transfer. The policy of 'one country, two systems' has been followed. China is responsible for the territory's defence and foreign relations. Hong Kong's local government would deal with the subjects like currency, customs, legal system, immigration laws, international sports teams and cultural delegation.
The hand over turned out to be the greatest celebration in the history of Hong Kong. The official ceremony was held in glass-encased extension to the HK Convention and Exhibition Centre. There were parties, fireworks, and road celebrations, that illuminated the entire island.
Dignitaries who attended the handover ceremony were:
» Chinese President Jiang Zemin
» Prime Minister Li Peng
» Hong Kong's new Chief Executive Tung Chee-hwa
» Outgoing Governor Chris Patten
» British Prime Minister Tony Blair
» Prince Charles
» Former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher
By the middle of 19th century, China lost the territory of Hongkong and Kowloon to Britain. In 1898, the Chinese government ceded to British demands, giving it hold of the New Territories on a 99 years lease, beggining in 1898 and ending in July 1,1997.