Hong Kong and the Huguenots
The city’s ‘one country, two systems’ policy was boldly pragmatic, but it was not the first time such an idea has been tried.
As the long shadow of China’s National Security Law fell over Hong Kong in June 2020 the ‘one country, two systems’ appeared to be dead in the water. First formulated by Deng Xiaoping in his negotiations with Margaret Thatcher’s government in the lead up to the December 1984 Sino-British Joint Declaration, this pragmatic principle underpinned the Hong Kong Basic Law. It guaranteed that the former British colony would be allowed to enjoy the exercise of its common law legal system and legislative arrangements, human rights and democratic expression as a Special Administrative Region (SAR) for 50 years after the formal handover of the territory on 1 July 1997.