Organizer and Chair: Ming K. Chan, University of Hong Kong
Discussants: Edward K. Y. Chen, Lingnan College, Hong Kong; Anthony B. L. Cheung, City University of Hong Kong; Yok-sing Tsang, Democratic Alliance for the Betterment of Hong Kong; Ezra F. Vogel, Harvard University; Lynn T. White III, Princeton University; Ming K. Chan, University of Hong Kong
After more than one and a half centuries of British colonial rule, Hong Kong as stipulated by the 1984 Sino-British Joint Declaration is to become a Special Administrative Region of the People's Republic of China on July 1, 1997. China's policy toward Hong Kong is based on the concept of "One Country, Two Systems" which would supposedly fulfill the sovereignty actualization of Socialist China while allowing the continuation of Hong Kong's existing capitalistic legal, economic and social systems for fifty years until 2047. The major change would be the political system which has been the bone of contention between Beijing, London and the Hong Kong people.
Hong Kong's retrocession to Chinese sovereignty is a crucial part of Beijing's high priority drive for national reunification, with Taiwan as the prime target. Hong Kong's reintegration with the PRC is of global significance with direct impact on the many interests of Hong Kong's external economic and functional partners. Furthermore it also would shape China's interactions with the outside world, especially the western industrial democracies-the U.S., Canada, the U.K. and the European Union.
Hong Kong's highly problematic transition (encompassing the inter-related processes of decolonization, localization, internationalization, and democratization) is fast coming to an end, with only a hundred days left by the time of the 1997 AAS Annual Meeting. Therefore, it is both timely and of great academic relevance to hold a multi-disciplinary, international roundtable at this critical juncture to examine Hong Kong's final countdown to sovereignty transfer and to prospect the challenges ahead for China's reintegration with this former colonial Little Dragon economic powerhouse with an emerging democratic polity.
The five panelists are the key political figures of Hong Kong's three major political streams (the democratic lobby, the pro-Beijing camp, and the liberal colonial establishment) who are leaders in their respective fields of law, economics and education, and the two American academics are leading scholars of China-HK relations. (Professor Vogel is a frequent visitor to Beijing and Hong Kong, whereas Professor White has been conducting extensive annual research visits to Hong Kong since the early 1990s.) Judging from the overwhelming success ( attended by some 150 scholars) of the roundtable on the Hong Kong Basic Law that I organized for the AAS 1990 Annual Meeting in Chicago, April 7, 1990, this proposed roundtable on Hong Kong Becoming China shall be another well-attended session on a headline topic in Chinese/Asian Studies.