Clearly, the Chinese Communist Party is preventing the city`s government from acting with the autonomy Beijing promised it in a 1984 legally binding international treaty with Britain, under Hong Kong`s Basic Law, and in China`s diplomatic contacts with the United States and other nations. This agreement between Britain and China made it clear that Hong Kong`s high level of autonomy, rights and freedoms would remain unchanged for 50 years. China`s commitments, including the right to freedom of expression, an independent judiciary and the rule of law, are essential to Hong Kong`s prosperity and way of life. On the 19th. In December 1984, after years of negotiations, the British and Chinese leaders signed a formal pact that approved the transshipment of the colony in 1997 in exchange for the formulation of a “one country, two systems” policy by the Chinese communist government. Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher called the agreement “a milestone in the life of the territory, in the course of Anglo-Chinese relations and in the history of international diplomacy.” Hu Yaobang, the general secretary of the Communist Party of China, called the signing “a day of red letters, an occasion of great joy” for China`s billion people. The British government`s response to the recent protests in Hong Kong drew attention to the 1984 Sino-British Joint Declaration. This backgrounder examines the explanation and concerns about its status. During the 2014 Umbrella Revolution, a campaign against mainland China`s perceived violations in the HKSAR, Chinese officials concluded for the first time that China considered the Joint Declaration “void,” according to a British lawmaker.  This finding was dismissed as “clearly false” by a senior Hong Kong jurist and rejected by the British Foreign Secretary, who said the document was a legally binding agreement that had to be respected.
  Rita Fan, then Hong Kong`s sole representative on the Standing Committee of the National People`s Congress in Beijing, claimed that Britain`s oversight responsibility had expired and that the Joint Declaration did not provide for universal suffrage.  Some political analysts felt that there was an urgent need to reach an agreement, as there were fears that Hong Kong`s economy would collapse in the 1980s without a treaty. Concerns about land ownership in the New Leased Territories have also contributed to the problem. Although discussions about Hong Kong`s future began in the late 1970s, the final timing of the Joint Declaration was influenced by real estate and economic factors rather than geopolitical necessities.  The signing of the Joint Declaration sparked some controversy in Britain because the British Conservative Party Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher, agreed with the Chinese Communist government, represented by Deng Xiaoping.  In the White Paper containing the Joint Statement, Her Majesty`s Government stated that “the alternative to adopting the current agreement is to have no agreement,” a statement intended to refute criticism that the declaration had made too many concessions to China, indicating China`s significant influence during the negotiations.  Thirty-five years ago today, on December 19, 1984, the governments of the United Kingdom and China reached an agreement on the Hong Kong question. The Sino-British Joint Declaration, as it is called, was registered with the UN on June 12, 1985 as a legally binding international treaty that is still in force today. One of the most important achievements has been to ensure the continuity of the independent judiciary in Hong Kong, including agreements in the legal fields of merchant shipping, civil aviation, nuclear materials, whaling, underwater telegraph, space and many others. He also agreed on a network of bilateral agreements between Hong Kong and other countries. Under these agreements, arrangements have been made for the further application of some 200 international conventions to the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region after 30 June 1997.
Hong Kong is expected to continue to participate in various international organizations even after the handover. The Sino-British Joint Declaration, signed in 1984, states that Hong Kong would retain its high level of autonomy, rights and freedoms for 50 years after its handover in 1997. In 2014, in the context of China`s Umbrella Revolution, the UK Foreign Affairs Committee was banned from entering Hong Kong during its planned visit in December as part of its investigation into progress in implementing the China-UK Joint Declaration. During an emergency parliamentary debate on the unprecedented ban, committee chairman Richard Ottaway revealed that Chinese officials now consider the Joint Declaration “null and void now, covering only the period from signing in 1984 to retrocession in 1997.”  The Sino-British Joint Declaration consists of eight paragraphs, three annexes on basic policy towards Hong Kong, the Sino-British Joint Liaison Group and land lease agreements, as well as the two memoranda of the two sides. Each party has the same status, and “the whole forms a formal international agreement that is legally binding in all its parts. Such an international agreement is the highest form of engagement between two sovereign States.  Under these declarations, the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region reports directly to the Central People`s Government of the PRC and enjoys a high degree of autonomy, with the exception of foreign and defence matters. It is allowed to have independent executive, legislative and judicial powers, including the final decision.
The Basic Law stipulates that English can be used in government agencies in addition to Chinese, and that the HKSAR can use its own regional flag and emblem in addition to the national flag and emblem of the PRC. It is intended to maintain the capitalist economic and commercial systems that were previously practiced in Hong Kong. The third paragraph lists the PRC`s basic guidelines for Hong Kong: this group was a liaison body and not a power of attorney to which each party could send up to 20 support staff. It should meet at least once a year in each of the three sites (Beijing, London and Hong Kong). Since July 1, 1988, it has been based in Hong Kong. It should also support the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region in maintaining and developing economic and cultural relations and conclude agreements with States, regions and relevant international organizations on these issues, and could therefore establish specialized sub-groups. Between 1985 and 2000, the Joint Liaison Group held 47 plenary meetings, including 18 in Hong Kong, 15 in London and 14 in Beijing. The Agreement entered into force on 27 May 1985 and was registered with the United Nations by the Governments of China and the United Kingdom on 12 June 1985. We reject the Chinese government`s assertion that the joint statement is a “historic document”, which means that it is no longer valid and that our rights and obligations under this treaty have come to an end.
We clearly believe that the 1984 Sino-British Joint Declaration commits the Chinese government to respect Hong Kong`s high degree of autonomy, as well as its rights and freedoms, and we call on the Chinese government to do so. In the ensuing talks, in which the Governor of Hong Kong participated in every round of official talks as a member of the British delegation, it became clear that maintaining the British administration after 1997 would in no way be acceptable to China.  The Chinese government still believes that all of Hong Kong should be Chinese territory, as it was acquired through the inequality of historic treaties.  Accordingly, the two sides discussed possible measures in parallel with the continuation of the British administration and developed the concept of Hong Kong as a special administrative region of the PRC. In April 1984, the two sides concluded the initial discussion on these issues, arranging for Hong Kong to maintain a “high” degree of autonomy under Chinese sovereignty while preserving the way of life maintained in Hong Kong.  On September 18, 1984, both parties approved the English and Chinese texts of the documents and the related exchange of memoranda. Preparations for the handover of Hong Kong to China began in the 1980s. On the 19th. In December 1984, the Government of the United Kingdom and the Government of the People`s Republic of China (PRC) signed the Sino-British Joint Declaration on the Question of Hong Kong.
On 1 July 1997, the United Kingdom transferred sovereignty over Hong Kong to the PRC. Hong Kong is now a special administrative region of the PRC. Finally, the Sino-British Joint Declaration on the Hong Kong Question was officially signed by the Heads of Government of the two Governments in Beijing on 19 December 1984. The agreement stipulated that Hong Kong (including Hong Kong Island, Kowloon and the New Territories) should be reclaimed by China. The Sino-British Joint Declaration is a treaty signed between the United Kingdom and China on Hong Kong under Chinese sovereignty.  The Declaration, signed in Beijing on 19 December 1984, established the sovereign and administrative regime of Hong Kong under 1 December 1984. In July 1997, the lease of the New Territories was due to expire in accordance with the Convention on the Enlargement of the Territory of Hong Kong. The G7 reaffirms the existence and importance of the 1984 Sino-British Joint Declaration on Hong Kong and calls for avoidance of violence. The Sino-British Joint Declaration, signed on 19 December 1984, paved the way for the return of the entire territory to China, which took place on 1 July 1997.
The Sino-British Joint Declaration, signed in 1984 by then-British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher and Chinese Prime Minister Zhao Ziyang, laid out how Britain would end its century-and-a-half-century rule over Hong Kong. .