|Chris Patten, the Last Governor of Hong Kong,|
20 years ago.
The 28th British Governor presided over the taking down of the Union Jack at midnight. He was Chris Patten, now Lord Patten of Barnes and Chancellor of Oxford University.
The original unfurling of the British flag was not peaceful. In 1839, Britain invaded China and occupied Hong Kong, then a sparsely inhabited island off the coast of southeast China. Two years later, China ceded the island to the British in the Convention of Chuenpi. The year after that, the Treaty of Nanking ended the First Opium War.
|Lord Patten of Barnes.|
In September 1984, after years of negotiations, the British and the Chinese signed a formal agreement approving the 1997 turnover of the island in exchange for a Chinese pledge to preserve Hong Kong’s capitalist system.
On July 1, 1997, Hong Kong was peaceably handed over to China in a ceremony attended by numerous Chinese, British, and international dignitaries. The chief executive under the new Hong Kong government, Tung Chee Hwa, announced a policy based on the concept of “one country, two systems,” to preserve Hong Kong’s role as a capitalist center in Asia.