The British flag was lowered at Government House for the last time at midnight. It had been home to the last Governor: Chris Patten, for the past five years so the flag was presented to him before he was driven off in the official Rolls Royce which was then handed over to the Chief Executive: Tung Chee-hwa.
Britain has controlled Hong Kong since 1842 – apart from a brief period during World War II when the Japanese took over. A huge fireworks display lit up Victoria Harbour at 8pm. An hour later 4000 guests sat down to a banquet in the Convention Centre on the harbour front while 509 Chinese troops crossed the land border into Hong Kong. Victoria Harbour is in face largely responsible for the development of Hong Kong due to its deep waters favoured by large trade ships.
Among the guests for the final handover ceremony at the Convention Centre were Prince Charles, Prime Minister Tony Blair, Foreign Secretary Robin Cook and Governor Chris Patten of course. Chinese dignitaries included President Jiang Zemin, Premier Li Peng, Foreign Minister Qian Qichen and military leader General Zhang Wannian. Read more […]