The principles and flexibility in China's external relations : the case of Hong Kong
This thesis examines the evolution of China's Hong Kong policy in the period 1949-84, and how China came to reach its agreement with the British government over Hong Kong's future. It attempts, through the study of China's Hong Kong policy, to explore one of the most important aspects of China's external policy -- the combination of principles and flexibility, and how Chinese leaders rationalized a flexible external policy in accordance with their principles. In general terms, the thesis analyses how the ideological convictions of Chinese leaders have shaped their view of the world, moulded their strategy, and provided the rationale for both the ends and means of their policies. It will also outline the principles applied operationally in China's external relations. There then follows a discussion of the particular tactics and processes of decision-making as relevant to the Hong Kong issue. China's legal interpretation of unequal treaties is contrasted with the its actual position, from both a theoretical and practical point of view. With specific regard to Hong Kong, there is a detailed analysis of the evolution of China's Hong Kong policy. This begins by examining the establishment of China's Hong Kong policy in the early years of the People's Republic. The factors contributing to China's tolerance of a British colony on its doorstep are considered. How China came to reach a tacit understanding with Britain for maintaining the status quo of Hong Kong is explored. The examination then turns to the impact of the Cultural Revolution on China's Hong Kong policy. Particular attention is paid to the PRC's policies towards overseas Chinese and to possible lessons to be learnt from Beijing's handling of its Hong Kong policy in a delicate situation. The changes in China's domestic politics after the Cultural Revolution are related to the country's external policies, especially regarding Hong Kong. The connection between China's Hong Kong policy and its Taiwan policy is also discussed. The subsequent consideration of the negotiations between the PRC and the United Kingdom seeks to explain how Beijing maintained its stand on the principal issues such as sovereignty while, at the same time, being flexible on specific matters. Finally, the concept of 'one country, two systems' is examined, with particular reference to China's declared principles of territorial integrity, sovereignty and unification, on the one hand, and its pragmatic goals of economic development and modernization on the other.