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Hong Kong Basic Law

Hong Kong government is not rewriting history with ‘handover’ edit, it is getting the terminology right

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 03 May, 2018, 9:46am
UPDATED : Thursday, 03 May, 2018, 9:46am

Your article, “City’s history being rewritten, one phrase at a time” (May 2), suggests that the Hong Kong government is rewriting history by removing mention of the phrase “handover of sovereignty”. 

Neither the Sino-British Joint Declaration nor the Basic Law mentions a “handover of sovereignty”. Indeed, Paragraph 1 of the Joint Declaration and the Preamble of the Basic Law both explicitly refer to the Government of the People’s Republic of China deciding to “resume the exercise of sovereignty over Hong Kong with effect from 1 July 1997”. 

The term “handover” was purely a convenient term coined in the run-up to 1997. It does not accurately reflect the substance or description of this momentous historical occasion.

The director of administration did clarify the correct terminology to be used in a general circular issued in February 2015. All government bureaus and departments should abide by this guidance. Thus, it is entirely appropriate for the Protocol Division to remove any non-official terminology in the course of updating its website.

Nothing wrong with school history textbooks reflecting Chinese view of Hong Kong handover, Carrie Lam says

Against this background, let me stress that the government is not rewriting history at all as your article suggests. We are seeking to ensure that official government correspondence and publications accurately and consistently reflect the basis upon which the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People’s Republic of China was established and operates under the Basic Law. It is incumbent on us to do so.

Matthew Cheung Kin-chung,  chief secretary for administration, Government of the HKSAR