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New Territories Agreement

On 19 December 1984, after years of negotiations, the British and Chinese leaders signed a formal pact authorizing the colony`s turnover in 1997, in exchange for formulating a Chinese Communist government policy with a “one country, two systems”. Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher called the agreement “a milestone in the life of the territory, in 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 one billion people in China. In response to the struggle for concessions in China by European countries and Japan, Britain negotiated with the Chinese government the lease of part of Xinan County, a neighbour of the British colony of Hong Kong. The two governments agreed in April 1898 and signed an agreement in Beijing on June 9, 1898. Under the agreement, the lease of the territories would be in effect from July 1, 1898 and would last 99 years. The colonial government called the additional country “New Territories.” The border of the colony was then widened to cover the land and sea between the Shenzhen River to the north and the width of 22-9` to the south and between longitude 114-30` to the east and longitude 113-52` to the west. As a result, the size of the colony has increased tenfold. [1] The New Territories were leased by Qing China in 1898 in the Second Beijing Convention (The Convention for the Expansion of Hong Kong Territory) for 99 years. When the lease expired, sovereignty was transferred to the People`s Republic of China in 1997, along with the Qing-ceded hong Kong Island and Kowloon Peninsula territories. Under the convention, the territories north of present-day Boundary Street and south of the Sham Chun River and the surrounding islands, later known as the New Territories, were leased free of charge to the United Kingdom for 99 years[1] which expired on June 30, 1997 and is part of the Hong Kong Crown Colony. [6] The Kowloon Walled City was excluded and remained under the control of Qing China.

The leased landing zones in the United Kingdom were originally managed by Xin`an County in Guangdong Province. Claude MacDonald, the British representative during the Congress, chose a 99-year lease because he thought it was “good forever.” [7] Britain did not believe it should return the territories. The 99-year lease was a convenient agreement. On April 10, 1898, the French, who also coveted Chinese territory, forced the Qing Empire on a 99-year lease from Kwang-Chou-Wan in France to support France in southern China and Indochina. To maintain the balance of power, the United Kingdom ordered Claude Maxwell MacDonald to press Qing Empire to allow hong Kong expansion for 200 miles.

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