Didn’t Hong Kong citizens oppose the rule under China?
Yes. In the early 90s, China was still adapting the insular policy. Due to the lack of confidence in the Chinese government, particularly after the Tiananmen Square protest in 1989, Hong Kong citizens were terrified that the communists may over rule the Hong Kong government and abolish all the capitalist policies and end the separate legal system. In order to gain back the confidence of the hand over, Deng Xiaoping (paramount leader of the People's Republic of China) proposed an idea “One country, two system”, for the successful reunification of China. He stated that “The aim (of it) is to achieve peaceful reunification of the motherland and maintain stability and prosperity in Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan. Hong Kong will have a high degree of autonomy and enjoy executive, legislative and independent judicial power, including that of final adjudication. They formulate their own monetary and financial policies, maintain their own currencies, formulate their own policies on education, culture, sports, social welfare system, etc. within the framework of the basic laws"
At the same time, the alternative form of education that was introduced by the British made the rule very successful. The reformation not only diluted the existing culture, whilst developing the ruling of the British culture, but gave the perception that the British and the westerners have a more prestigious status.
However, there is still a sizable portion of Hong Kong residents that decided to leave their home and emigrate from Hong Kong. Many were against the handover, due to the lack of nationalism and the unforeseeable threats.
What’s life been like in the past ten years? Like riding the most thrilling roller coaster. According to “One country, two systems”, Hong Kong has a separation of legal and judiciary system which enables Hong Kong to use the British common law rather than the china’s civil law. The purpose of this policy is to increase the confidence of the Hong Kong citizens and reassure that Hong Kong will not suffer a massive change under the rule of China. However, the economy of Hong Kong underwent severe depression and is now recovering. The Hang Seng Index (the indicator of the overall market performance in Hong Kong economy) has fluctuated drastically during these ten years.
Hong Kong economy entered its depression stage after twenty years of strong boom, in the month after the British left, July 1997. The Asian financial typhoon swept through most of the Hong Kong citizens and they were struck because of the failure of their high risk investments in the stock market. The bull market suddenly lost its confidence and the Hong Kong financial market fell from the peak to the abyss. Many could not handle the failure of their investments and chose to escape from reality by committing suicide. The strong boom in the business era stopped and a recess began.
After the financial debacle, Hong Kong's economy gradually recovered and rebounded. It recorded a growth in the real GDP and achieved a double digits increase in the first half of 2000. However, due to the 911 attacks - a series of coordinated attacks of terrorism on the United States in 2001, Hong Kong was tremendously affected by this worldwide economic contagion.
In 2003, the plight of SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome) caused the condition in Hong Kong to become worse than it was in the Dark Ages. In one hundred days of blight, 299 citizens were dead. This tragedy made the people learn and change. People became more conscious about personal hygiene. Hong Kong citizens still worked their hearts out for the best living, however, they started to realise that they also needed to have a healthy lifestyle. The citizens also became more willing to voice their opinion, as they knew that they would never be able to show their attitude when they are in the dust.
In the same year, on 1st of July, while every Hong Kong citizen was supposed to be celebrating his/her Special Administrative Region Establishment Day, the majority of Hong Kong citizens chose to show their dissatisfaction toward the government on streets rather than taking a rest from work. Half a million people protested opposing the legislation of article 23 (the anti-subversion laws) and the disapproval of the rule under the Chief Executive Tung Chi Wah and against previous NPCSC (National People's Congress Standing Committee) interpretations of the Basic Law. The proposal was abandoned under the pressure of the people. By then, Hong Kong citizens are also getting more and more politically aware.
In the year 2005, Donald Tsang became the Chief Executive after the resignation of Tung Chi Wah. Under the leadership of Tsang, Hong Kong’s economy started to recover from the bear market. However, another problem rose under Tsang’s rule. In 2007, the majority of Hong Kong citizens showed support towards the dual universal suffrage (the legislative council and the Chief Executive Election) in 2012. According to the Article 45 of the Basic Law - "...The ultimate aim is the selection of the Chief Executive by universal suffrage..." Ten years after the transfer of the sovereignty, Hong Kong citizens are still denied the right to vote for their own Chief Executive. Instead, an 800-member election committee chooses the leader for 7,000,000 people. The path of democracy is difficult to walk through, still and many citizens and democratic legislators are fighting for it.
(A little box underneath for extra information)
What is the view of the British?
The report to Parliament by the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, released in February 2007, stated this: “At the end of this reporting period we conclude that the ‘One Country, Two Systems’ principle has generally worked well in practice and that the rights and freedoms promised to Hong Kong in the Joint Declaration and the Basic Law continue to be upheld.”
Optimistic. “Hong Kong has had no serious difficulty in riding out the periodic storms that followed. The point here, one that my British business colleagues quickly appreciated, is that the Hong Kong measures were taken with the full cooperation of the Chinese government but not at its dictation.”, commented Sir Robin McLaren. Ten years of ups and downs, the Pearl of the East began to shine again. Everything in the past seemed to be shrouded in the mist and raindrops. Hong Kong citizens are still able to stand still and overcome their obstacles and enjoy the picturesque scene of a rainbow after the storm.