This year marks the 20th anniversary of the handover of Hong Kong’s sovereignty from Britain to China in 1997. That was the year in which most of the reporters working on this issue of Varsity were born. In Periscope, we take a look back on some of the issues that have shaped Hong Kong in the past 20 years.
On the first working day after the handover on July 1st 1997, the mainland-born children of Hong Kong permanent residents lined up to claim residency rights under Article 24 of the Basic Law, kicking off a years-long struggle known as the right of abode saga. The impact of the legal battles and discourse over mainland new arrivals affect us even today.
In 1997, the government announced a dramatic shift in education policy, replacing English with Chinese as the medium of instruction in Hong Kong schools. Not long afterwards it said it was making the teaching of Chinese in Putonghua a long-term goal. These were just some of the big education reforms that have been instituted in the last 20 years, which have left teachers scrambling to adapt and keep up, and students struggling under heavy workloads.
Hongkonger’s sense of identity and the extent to which they consider themselves to be Chinese have changed in the 20 years since the handover. We talk to those born at pivotal moments in Hong Kong’s recent history and ask how the experiences of their formative years have affected how they see China.