|HONG KONG: HANDLING THE HANDOVER|
July 3, 1997
in this forum:
Should Christians in Hong Kong be concerned for their personal security? Did the sheer numbers of reports alter the atmosphere? What did you see that was beautiful, human and funny? Will Tung Chiwah be independent enough to make critical executive decisions? What's it like with Chinese Liberation Army troops in Hong Kong?
Online NewsHour Links
Read our last forum with Professor DeGolyer in Hong Kong.
July 1, 1997: The Handover is finally history.
June 23, 1997: How the British will retreat from Hong Kong.
June 16, 1997: Will China's communism bring drastic change, or business as usual?
June 10, 1997: Just who is Tung Chee-hwa--the man who will take over Hong Kong when it is returned to Chinese control?
December 17, 1996: Human rights abuses in China.
November 21, 1996: Asia's dynamic and fast-growing economy. .
The NewsHour Asia Index.
Standing on the pier in Hong Kong at midnight on June 30th, 1997, you might have thought it was New Year's, 1999. It was raining as the British flag came down and the Chinese flag rose over the city, but the hotels and government buildings were filled with famous and powerful world leaders, and spirits were generally high.
But one person's celebration is another's day of mourning. China has replaced the democratically elected governing body with a hand-picked new interim legislature, ignoring international criticism. Human rights watchers are nervous that civil and individual rights will not be respected under the new regime. And the provisional legislature is expected to rewrite anti-subversion laws that the outgoing British government had modified, and toughen laws on freedom of information.
In his short welcoming speech, the PRC president and Communist Party chief, Jiang Zemin, said China is committed to one country/two systems, an autonomous and prosperous Hong Kong. But Hong Kong is a democratic city with feisty newspapers used to sharply criticizing the Chinese leaders -- a jailable offense on the mainland.
Our forum asks: What was the mood in the city as the British flag went down and the Chinese flag went up? Were there any clues as to what kind of control China will exert over Hong Kong? Should the U.S. be concerned with China's role in shaping this new economic powerhouse?
We have three guests who were in Hong Kong during the handover. Professor Michael E. DeGolyer is the director of the Hong Kong Transition Project, and a professor of Government and International Studies Department, Hong Kong Baptist University. He has written extensively on the issues of Hong Kong's transfer from Great Britain to China and has participated in seminars and conferences with the Hong Kong American Chamber of Commerce, Asia 2000 Foundation, and other organizations.
Michael Browning is a reporter with the Miami Herald. He has been with the Herald for 18 years, and from 1983-1992 was Knight-Ridder's East Asia correspondent based in Beijing. He was in China for the Tiananmen Square incident, and has reported on South Korea, Hong Kong, Singapore, Taiwan, India, Mongolia, Pakistan and the Philippines. Browning lived in Hong Kong most of 1990.
Samy-Leigh Webster-Woog recently graduated from Columbia Journalism School. He is currently a freelance reporter for Pacifica Radio.
Questions asked in this forum:
Should Christians in Hong Kong be concerned for their personal security? Did the sheer numbers of reports alter the atmosphere? What did you see that was beautiful, human and funny? Will Tung Chiwah be independent enough to make critical executive decisions? Can you feel the presence of the Chinese Liberation Army troops?