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Concerns in HKong after 20 years of Chinese rule

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(29 Jun 2017) As Hong Kong plans its celebrations to mark 20 years under Chinese rule, many in the former British colony are not quite in the mood to party. While Beijing loyalists such as Rita Fan worry calls for Hong Kong independence will weaken the territory, democrats like Martin Lee have expressed their frustration at what they believe is a loss of freedom over the last two decades following the handover of sovereignty from Britain to China.Hong Kong had been under British rule for over 150 years when it was returned to China in 1997 under the Sino-British Joint Declaration. At that time Fan was President of the Provisional Legislative Council, and she led legislators in pledging allegiance to China at the ceremony establishing Hong Kong as a Special Administrative Region of China.She recalled how concerned she was the oath was taken in Mandarin instead of Hong Kong's dialect Cantonese.Now Deputy leader of the Hong Kong delegation to the Chinese National People's Congress, Fan told AP however that she did her best "to show the confidence and the determination of the Chinese people, including the Hong Kong people," in her pledge.Fan was in the committee that prepared the transfer of sovereignty and believes it was handled in the best possible way for Hong Kong.Twenty years on now though she says she is concerned at the growing calls for independence which she believes, along with anti China sentiment, will slow down the development of the Asian financial hub.Under the "One Country, Two Systems", China promised Hong Kong the city can enjoy a high degree of autonomy and its lifestyle would remain unchanged for at least 50 years after the handover.For Fan, when that marker is met, she believes China may well be as advanced as Hong Kong.The issue then for the residents of Hong Kong will be if they still want the one country, two system or one country, one system.Back in 1997 meanwhile when the handover was completed pro-democracy figure Martin Lee wasn't attending the big ceremony.Instead he made a speech at the balcony of the then Legislative Council building, an iconic architectural building from the colonial period, and addressed some 5,000 people.Lee, who is also a barrister, thinks Beijing's interpretation of basic law has shaken confidence in Hong Kong.He believes freedom is declining and democracy even less likely in the territory.China "must accommodate little Hong Kong and stop interfering with us" he believes if the one country two system can really succeed.You can license this story through AP Archive: http://www.aparchive.com/metadata/you... Find out more about AP Archive: http://www.aparchive.com/HowWeWork

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AP Archive 4103994 dc1699f485a55d6a655537c8f4ddfe39 Hong Kong Concerns Beijing China Greater China East Asia United Kingdom Western Europe Hong Kong Chris Patten Zhang Dejiang Jiang Zemin Government and politics
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