The century and a half of British administration bequeathed many good things to this cosmopolitan Chinese city, such as the legal system, respect for the rule of law, and dedication to free trade.
But there were also some pretty shameful aspects, and I don't mean only the opium wars, that gave rise to the founding of the colony in the first place. One of these has just come back to bite everyone a second time.
That episode was the change to British nationality legislation that stripped Hongkongers of their right to live in the United Kingdom from 1981. Hitherto, British people could land in Hong Kong - or any other colony - as I did in 1972, and start work immediately. Residents of the colonies had a reciprocal right.
The effect of the change was that people had only the right to live in their own colony, while the British were treated like any other foreigner working in Hong Kong. Although in theory the law was colour-blind and applied to places such as the Falklands and Gibraltar, in practice Hong Kong was the real target, with an eye to what might happen as 1997 neared.
Once the transition here had gone through smoothly, the Falklands and Gibraltar situations were quietly reversed.
So Hongkongers became British Dependent Territory citizens and then "British Nationals (Overseas)". And the infamous BN(O) passports came into being.
I say infamous, because these documents gave the holder neither a nationality - British nationality without the right to live in Britain is a contradiction in terms - nor the right to live even in Hong Kong itself. The most the passports could say was that the holder also held a Hong Kong identity card, giving him right of abode.
Chinese citizens of Hong Kong were entitled to an HKSAR passport. Those wishing to cling to memories of times past could also apply for a BN(O). Many secured both - one to travel on and one in the safe deposit box at the bank for a rainy day.
While the huge passport section of the British consulate was based here, this presented few problems as the BN(O) passports could be renewed easily.
But the move to centralise passport renewals in Liverpool has resulted in delays of up to four months. This is bad enough for those holding full British passports, but is doubly hard for SAR passport holders as they need to hand them in as well as part of the BN(O) renewal process. So they are completely stranded, unable to travel for four months.
My advice to them is to do what I did in 2001. Put nostalgia aside, give up the British passport and travel the world proudly on your Hong Kong China passport. It can be renewed in a few days - you can even book online. I have just renewed my Re-entry Permit for travel to the mainland. It took less than an hour.
Mike Rowse is managing director of Stanton Chase International and an adjunct professor at Chinese University. firstname.lastname@example.org