Imperial dominance refers to influence over the governance of a country, usually a less developed one, by another country in order to expand its power. Decolonization is reversing colonialism in a country. The country that was previously colonized acquires independence. Hong Kong was a British colony since 1842 until the early 1980s. After decolonization from Britain, it did not become completely independent as it was linked to China politically. Hong Kong was an important commercial center in the South-Eastern China. Britain did not grant Hong Kong complete independence due to its importance as a trade centre and contribution to the economy. When Britain lost its status as an imperial power in China, it began to realize the importance of China both politically and economically, compared to Hong Kong. Negotiations with China started, and Hong Kong was finally handed back as a part of China officially in 1997.
The main difference in the nature of imperialist domination and decolonization in China and Hong Kong was that after decolonization China became a sovereign state, while Hong Kong was not completely independent. China was free to make decisions relating to its politics and economy, while Hong Kong had representatives in the China government. Hong Kong was under both China and Britain (Tsang, 2007). The importance of Hong Kong as an economic hub was diminished when China came up as a leading power within Asia (Tsang, 2007). Britain’s international power, especially in Asia, was also reduced and, therefore, they had to let go of Hong Kong. China was also under a communist government after independence while Hong Kong had a more democratic rule. This was part of the reason as to why Britain was reluctant to relinquish the rule of Hong Kong to China.
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Hong Kong was occupied by Britain and Japan. It became a colony of Britain in 1842 and was later taken over by Japan during the Pacific War in 1941. However, Britain later recovered it in 1945 and Hong Kong was under its power until 1997, when it was handed back and became a part of Mainland China. Although Hong Kong is now the part of China, it has a high degree of autonomy in its governance that has spilled over from its being a British colony for a long time (Tsang, 2007). Hong Kong and China have different political systems, except in issues relating to foreign relations and defense. China is a single party nation, while Hong Kong is a multi-party state. China is largely a communist nation (Hutchings, 2003). Another influence of the British colonialism on Hong Kong is that its judicial system is based on the Common Law framework which was borrowed from Britain (Tsang, 2007).
There are different factors that led to the end of imperialist domination in Hong Kong and Mainland China by Britain. China was never fully colonized; however, it was a semi-colony of Britain after its defeat in the war. It began coming up as a powerful nation within Asia, leading to the retreat of the nations that were looking to colonize it, such as Britain and Japan. They, therefore, maintained independence in most of their governance systems, especially communism (Hutchings, 2003). Hong Kong, on the other hand, was a colony of Britain. It was released from Britain’s power briefly after the invasion of the Japanese that led to their retreat. The end of imperialist domination in Hong Kong officially ended in 1997 when they handed over the sovereignty to the Republic of China (Hutchings, 2003). This was as a result of lack of solid claim by the British on the state, as well as the recognition of China as an upcoming superpower in the world. The New territory 99-year treaty, that Britain had signed, had also come to an end.