Judith O'Hare - B.Ec. LLB. (Syd.), LLM. (HK), ACIArb London; Solicitor, Freshfields Solicitors; Admitted Legal Practitioner, Supreme Court of New South Wales. This article was presented as a lecture to Masters of Law in Chinese and Comparative Law students, at City University on November 9, 1996.
As we approach the next millennium the emerging nations of the Asia-Pacific region will be afforded many opportunities and many challenges. For Hong Kong, the approaching end of the millennium holds its own unique opportunities and challenges.
At midnight on June 30, 1997, sovereignty over the territory which makes up Hong Kong will revert to the People's Republic of China (the PRC) after over 150 years of British rule. The Joint Declaration entered into by the United Kingdom and the PRC in 1984 guarantees that the economic, legislative and judicial systems of Hong Kong shall remain in place and unchanged for 50 years. Exercising powers set out in the Constitution of the PRC, the PRC will establish through the enactment of the Basic Law, the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR). It is here, in the foundation laid by the Joint Declaration and in the Basic Law, that we find the unique arrangements set in place for the transition of Hong Kong from British sovereignty to Chinese sovereignty. That arrangement is founded on the principle of "one country, two systems."