I went on a vacation / business trip to Asia in 1992. I visited Hong Kong, Macao, Taipei in Taiwan R.O.C., and Bangkok in Thailand. I traveled together with a good friend of mine. We visited some manufactures of computer peripherals and electronics, and companies selling tea. It was a good trip and I thought for a short moment on trying to stay in Asia. I admired the work ethics in Asia, especially Hong Kong and Taiwan, but at the same time it was a bit of a culture clash. I heard the word "gweilo" a couple of times... Hong Kong was the country closest to the Western world, due to the influence from the British heritage. I don't think that the British government was forced to "honor" the old treaty and hand over Hong Kong to communist China. You don't make deals with a criminal (read: dictatorship)!
After the trip, I contacted Emily Lau, Legislative Councillor, and asked about her view on Hong Kong's future. Nowadays she is also involved in the Frontier political party. She has been covered in the news lately. Here are some examples:
Hong Kong protesters force China to bend.
China censors CNN broadcast.
Beijing's shadow triggers the jitters.
Hong Kong businessmen prepare to march.
For a historical background, read an interview (dated 03/20/97) with Emily Lau.
For more news on Hong Kong, read the article in the Financial Times, HK agitator for civil rights sees his work bloom. I hope it will be possible to read an English version of Jimmy Lai's newspaper, Apple Daily, sometime in the future.
I want to end this post with a quote from Edward Cline's book, Whisper The Guns:
"Peking valued Hong Kong as a source of hard currency and trade -- as a window on the world of values. But it couldn't have Hong Kong and rule it at the same time; that was an issue and conflict only power-hungry bureaucrats wrestled with. Peking would destroy Hong Kong, and the last enduring jewel of a much vandalized and much apologized-for crown would twinkle out forever.....Or Hong Kong would destroy Peking." [Page 50, "Nothing but solitude."]