July 1st is Establishment Day in Hong Kong


The Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Establishment Day celebrates the end of British rule over Hong Kong on this day in 1997 after more than 150 years. Hong Kong Island was ceded to the British in the Treaty of Nanking and made into a Crown Colony. In the following years, the British amassed more and more territory, gradually gaining land up to the Shenzhen River.

In 1984, the People’s Republic of China expressed its wish for Hong Kong to be returned to it, and the British government eventually agreed. On 1 July 1997, Hong Kong was made a Special Administrative Region of the People’s Republic of China but was kept capitalist to preserve the Hong Kong way of life for 50 years after the cession date. Macau followed two years later when it too was given to China from Portugal on December 20, 1999.

Celebration Today

The main attraction on Establishment Day is the fireworks display over Victoria Harbor the evening of July 1, as shown in the picture above.
Another de facto tradition are protest marches advocating for human rights, suffrage, and free speech. These protests frequently occur at Wan Chai, Causeway Bay, and Central.

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