The End of Empires JCC: Negotiating the Handover of Hong Kong, 1983


Hong Kong. Commonly dubbed the Pearl of the Orient, it was once an unknown, barely inhabited fishing town off the Southern Coast of China. But by 1898, Hong Kong had been colonised and leased to the British Empire for 99 years after bloody Opium Wars, and the city was transformed into a centre of international commerce and diplomacy under British rule. Yet all empires come to an end. Hong Kong’s 1997 expiration loomed over the shrinking Empire and the rapidly developing power of modern China.


In September 1982, Deng Xiaoping (premier of China) finally met with Margaret Thatcher (British prime minister) and declared that “the sovereignty [of Hong Kong] is not negotiable”. Initially reluctant over losing one of the last pieces of the British Empire, Thatcher wrote to Deng only agreeing to discuss Chinese sovereignty over Hong Kong in the Parliament. It is 1983, and a diplomatic battle for Hong Kong, a symbolic fight for 21st century dominance, is heating up between the British and Chinese. Having gathered various local allies into their respective negotiating parties, they have gathered to barter and dictate the future of this small city. Any impulsive decision could halt the Hong Kong’s surge to economic success and global prominence — and your countries will suffer alongside the unstable city. Will Hong Kong’s return spell the end of the British Empire and the birth of a stronger China, or will its colonial renewal allow Britain to save some of its imperial glory?


《千里之行﹐始於足下》Which journey will Hong Kong’s future take? The first step is up to you.