It would not be a major exaggeration to say that until 1 July 1997, British relations with China were always coloured by Hong Kong. This is not to say that Hong Kong has always been uppermost in the minds of policy-makers in London, because it has not. Throughout the second half of the nineteenth century and most of the first half of the twentieth, the UK as a great imperial power had to pay attention to developments in China as a whole and not just in Hong Kong. British goals of expanding commercial opportunities and territorial concessions in China in the nineteenth century and also of supporting the work of Christian missionaries were tempered by the fear of causing chaos which would overwhelm China and threaten all the commercial agreements.
KeywordsChinese Government Security Council Labour Government British Government British Rule
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