First Advisor

Maureen Hickey

Date of Award

Summer 2021

Document Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) in International & Global Studies: International Development and University Honors


International and Global Studies




Protest movements -- China -- Hong Kong, Hong Kong (China) -- Politics and government -- 1997-, Hong Kong Protests (2019- ), Human rights -- China -- Hong Kong, Extradition -- China -- Hong Kong




The future of Hong Kong -- one of the most valuable economic port cities in the world -- has been a key political issue since the Opium Wars (1839-1860). After eighty five years of being a British colony, Hong Kong was returned to mainland China in 1997 under a special arrangement that was intended to preserve Hong Kong’s special political and administrative status until 2047. As Hong Kong is a special administered zone, it utilizes a democratic governing system and enjoys freedoms that mainlander citizens of China do not experience. Many scholars have warned Hong Kong of its dire position politically as China continues to open up the mainland for foreign businesses. In this thesis, I argue that China never intended to honor the agreement of democracy with Hong Kong until 2047, as Hong Kong can only be as politically troublesome as it is economically useful to the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). Through the analysis of China's increasing political presence in Hong Kong, the diminishing freedoms of Hong Kong people, and the lack of Hong Kong's economic success in both the gross domestic product (GDP) and stock market exchange platforms in comparison to the mainland, I found that Hong Kong is no longer as important to the Chinese government as it once was during the 1997 turnover. Hong Kong waited too long to attempt to break free from communist rule. Hong Kong's title as a global financial hub will likely not give the island any advantage over the mainland cities nor will it receive any more favoritism from the CCP. China will continue to bring Hong Kong in line with the rest of the country and as a result, Hong Kong's freedoms as well as its special administered zone status can cease to exist completely in the future.


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An undergraduate honors thesis submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Bachelor of Arts in University Honors and International Development Studies and Chinese.

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