Hong Kong reverts back to Chinese rule in a midnight ceremony attended by a host of British and Chinese dignitaries. Few on the island city protested the turnover. Britain gained control of Hong Kong at the end of the First Opium War in 1841. The colony flourished as an East-West trading center, and in 1898, Britain was granted an additional 99 years of rule.
In 1984, after years of negotiations, the British and Chinese communists approved the 1997 turnover of the island. The chief executive under the new Hong Kong government, Tung Chee Hwa, formulated a policy based upon the concept of one country, two systems, thus preserving Hong Kong’s role as a principal capitalist center in Asia.