The list includes Hong Kong government officials, members of the legislative and executive councils, presidents of Hong Kong and Shanghai Banking Corporation and Standard Chartered Bank, prominent businessmen such as Li Ka-shing, Pao Yue-kong and Fok Ying-tung, Martin Lee Chu-ming and Szeto Wah. One of the most important achievements has been to ensure the continuity of the independent judicial system in Hong Kong, including agreements in the areas of commercial navigation, civil aviation, nuclear materials, whale fishing, underwater telegraph, space and many others. It also agreed to a network of bilateral agreements between Hong Kong and other countries. Under these agreements, agreements were reached for the continued implementation of some 200 international conventions to HKSAR after 30 June 1997. Hong Kong is expected to continue to participate in various international organizations after the handover. But the UK says the deal – known as a joint declaration – is under threat because the region has passed a new law that gives China new extended controls over Hong Kong residents. The high-profile efforts of the British government in Hong Kong to increase democratic participation in the territory`s government therefore appear to have been too little, too late. Negotiations with China on the transfer of sovereignty began at a time when unofficial representation at Legco was only symbolic and was limited to selected elites. After the 1984 agreement to allow the Chinese government to develop a basic law, there was little that could be done to reform the system outside the framework of the law. The provisional legislative power will remain in force until 1998 or 1999 and, although China has committed to introducing a two-stage Legco where half of its direct voters will be elected, it remains to be seen how such regulation will actually work in practice.
China`s foreign minister said the elections “embody democratic, free and open principles” and that anyone who meets China`s criteria is allowed to run. (22) Eligibility could be limited to a number of parties or, more likely, candidates could be required to insult themselves for a restrictive promise that would exclude anyone who might be critical of the SAR or the Beijing authorities. The future of a truly elected government in Hong Kong is a very open question. Pressure for political reforms prevailed after Legco`s 1991 election, when 18 of the 20 seats elected by universal suffrage were won by the United Democrats and other Liberal candidates. The new (and last) Governor of Hong Kong, Chris Patten, has therefore tried to strengthen public participation in the political process while remaining within the framework of the Joint Declaration and the Fundamental Law. In October 1992, Patten proposed that in addition to 20 directly elected seats, functional constituencies should be elected by all Hong Kong staff, which has 2.7 million people, and that there be direct elections to local authorities in the territory. Despite or perhaps because the proposals were well received by Hong Kong`s liberal political circles, the Chinese reacted very negatively, accusing the governor of violating the agreement that all new agreements should “converge” with the Basic Law and try to increase British influence and undermine Chinese control after 1997.