Keywords: British Colonial Rule, Chinese Communist Rule, Hong Kong, Political History, Diplomatic History
The article analyses the diplomatic negotiations that London and Peking started in the early 1980s to discuss the future of Hong Kong and the conditions for its return to the motherland. In particular, it highlights the initial diverging positions of the two parties and how the main protagonists (the British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher and the Chinese paramount leader Deng Xiaoping) played a crucial role in reaching an agreement. The first of the article’s three parts focuses on the adjustments imposed on Chinese foreign policy by Deng Xiaoping’s new leadership in the late 1970s. The second part is specifically devoted to the negotiations, started and closed by Margaret Thatcher’s visits to Peking in September 1982 and December 1984, respectively. The third part sheds light on the personality of both protagonists, who played a fundamental role in determining the outcome of the negotiations.