Path to 1997

Governor MacLehose's discussions with China's patriarch Deng Xiaoping, during a visit to Beijing in 1979 were so secret that members of the Legislative Council were left unaware of their content, declassified records showed the Vice-Premier had not decided on Hong Kong's fate. That would all change in 1982 and the signing of the Joint Declaration in December 1984.

British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher and Chinese Prime Minister Zhao Zhiyang sign the Joint Declaration in the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on 19 December 1984. Standing between them are Britain's Foreign Minister Geoffrey Howe, Deng Xiaoping and Li Xiannian, President of the People's Republic of China.

At a stormy press conference held in Hong Kong on 27 September 1982, Mrs Thatcher with Governor Youde (left) defends clauses of the Joint Declaration.

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