British colony: Hong Kong
British Colony Hong Kong
Name: Mees Klesser
In this essay I am going to talk about the former british colony, Hong Kong. I will tell you about Hong Kong and their history, why Great Britain wanted this colony, how Great Britain ruled the colony and how China got Hong Kong back.
Hong Kong is actually not a country but a special administrative region of China. The only things that China regulates are Defence and the Foreign Affairs. Apart from that, Hong Kong acts as an independent country.
In 1699 China got in contact with the British East India Company. In 1821 Hong Kong became the harbor where the British brought their opium in from Bengalen to China. Later, the relationship between China and Great Britain got worse with the day. After the first Opium War in 1842, the Chinese empire got forced to give Hong Kong to Great Britain. After the second Opium War the British captured Kowloon. At that time there only lived 7000 people in Hong Kong. Hong Kong stayed a colony of Great Britain for about 100 years. This and many more areas were called British overseas territory.
Why did Great Britain want Hong Kong?
In the 19th century China made the ‘nicest’ stuff. Everybody wanted stuff made by China, but China did not want any other country’s stuff, because there was simply not any better then they made in China. Then, Great Britain made drugs named opium. China did not like that Great Britain had a better product than they, so they threw all opium down in the sea, that is how the first Opium War started. A couple years later they had a second Opium War and the British won Kowloon. They could get more land so they captured that too. That territory was like a 99year-lease. That actually said they would capture the land forever, but China got back the land later.
Regulation of Great Britain
Great Britain ruled the country and built up Hong Kong’s industry and commerce. The economy and industry were way different than in the other countries in Asia. The quality of living in Hong Kong was also way different from the mainland China. China was ruled by communism and Hong Kong was democratic. Hong Kong was ahead in cases of the society. The people in Hong Kong had healthier and wealthier lives than the people who lived in China. The people in China were opressed by the communist rule. The most of the money went to the people in the government and not to the residents.
Giving back Hong Kong
Late in the 20th century Great Britain wanted to give Hong Kong back because they did not have much advantages by keeping it. By then, having colonies was not very ‘popular’ anymore.
Great Britain wanted to make a deal with China that they could have Hong Kong back, if they would have another form of government. The Chinese leaders did not want a democracy, but they wanted to keep communism. China kind of forced Great Britain to keep Hong Kong. China wanted this very bad, because then China and Hong Kong would not be democratic. They even sent a threatening message to Great Britain that they ‘would not hesitate to take positive action to have Hong Kong, Kowloon and the New Territories liberated’. In other words, China threatened to invade Hong Kong if the British made it democratic. But on the other hand China wanted the British to rule, because China could use Hong Kong to trade and contact people of other countries. So, the British continued colonizing them. At this time, China was very happy to let the British build Hong Kong into one of the best economic areas in Asia, because China had a plan to take back Hong Kong in 1997.
Back to what I said earlier, only the New Territories were on the lease and not Kowloon and Hong Kong. But if the British wanted to keep Hong Kong and Kowloon, China could make life there very difficult. Like by shutting of their water, because the most of the water came from the New Territories and China. So the British saved the people on Hong Kong and Kowloon with giving up Hong Kong and Kowloon after the lease of the New Territories. The British thought that Communist China would take care of the freedom of the lives of the residents from Hong Kong and Kowloon. The most of the colonies of that time became free an independent, like Fiji. In Hong Kong there was something different going on.
In 1972 something unusual happened. China sent a letter to the UN. The letter said that Hong Kong and Kowloon should not be considered as colonies. They were ‘just territory of China, occupied by the British’. The UN thought that was okay with them. In a report of all the rules and laws there was a part of more than a thousand of pages where the UN removed Hong Kong from the list of non-self-governing-territories. Later, a resolution came mostly about supporting decolonization. Another part of that same resolution was approving the report that was a thousand pages long. The resolution got 99 voters in favour and 5 against. What the most countries that voted did not know was that China wrote one line in that long document. So when the UN members voted to support the independence of people in colonies, Hong Kong and Kowloon were no longer on the list. Hong Kong was not independent anymore. Because of this and the fact that China could cut off the water supplies, Great Britain handed over Hong Kong.
The British got to negotiate with China about Hong Kong. They wanted to protect the freedom of the people living there. Eventually, the two countries got to an agreement that they would make a rule, the rule was called the ‘one country, two systems rule’. Hong Kong would from then on belong to China, but have another government then the mainland.
Hong Kong belonged to China first. Later, after the second Opium War Great Britain captured Hong Kong, Kowloon and the New Territories. Great Britain ruled the colony and managed the economy. The people in Hong Kong had more money and had more freedom then the rest of Asia by then. China got Hong Kong back by legal manipulation. Till now, Hong Kong is China’s, but they have not got the same government.