The Governor of Hong Kong, Sir Murray Maclehose on Saturday (30 September) became the first governor of the British colony to attend a China National Day reception.
The Governor of Hong Kong, Sir Murray Maclehose on Saturday (30 September) became the first governor of the British colony to attend a China National Day reception. Sir Murray's unprecedented acceptance of the invitation marks a significant development in diplomatic relations between the British and Hong Kong governments, and China.
SYNOPSIS: Sir Murray was invited to the reception by Wang Kuang, director of the New china News Agency, Hsien Hua. The agency acts as an unofficial representative of the Chinese government in Hong Kong. The reception marked the 29th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic, and the highlight of the evening came when Sir Murray proposed a toast to the Chinese government.
Later, Mr. Wang replied with a toast to Britain's Queen Elizabeth. The state of relations between Hong Kong an China is closely monitored in Taiwan. Moves towards greater co-operation between china and Britain are seen as a symptom of the weakening position of Taiwan, which now has no official representation either in London or Hong Kong. China has never recognised Britain's legal title to Hong Kong, and considers the colony a Chinese territory under temporary foreign administration. Sir Murray's presence at the reception could be seen as a move towards attempting to solve the problem of who will govern Hong Kong, when the British colony mandate expires in 1997.
China has a close involvement in the Hong Kong economy. Between a third and a half of all China's foreign exchange income is derived from the colony, and Hong Kong also provides China with immediate access to European, Japanese and United States banking and trade facilities. The settlement of the dependency of Hong Kong could result in a transfer of colonial authority from britain to China. Such a move, however could be seriously detrimental to the Chinese economy, since China has invested heavily in the colony, and Hong Kong's four and a half million inhabitant provide the Chinese with a ready market for overseas trade.