British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher goes to Beijing to discuss the future of Hong Kong, which China was forced to cede to Britain in 1842 after the First Opium War.
Sino-British Joint Declaration Signed
Britain and China sign a joint declaration that Hong Kong will return to China in 1997. Hong Kong citizens emigrate in droves to countries such as Canada and Australia following the agreement.
Last British Governor Arrives in Hong Kong
Chris Patten becomes the last British governor of Hong Kong. He proposes democratic reforms for the territory; some of these are adopted in 1994.
After more than 150 years of British rule, Hong Kong is returned to the People’s Republic of China. The framework of governance is “one country, two systems,” granting Hong Kong considerable autonomy for 50 years.
First post-handover elections
The first post-handover election for the legislature is held, but the process is not fully democratic. The law stipulates that only one-third of the seats are directly elected.
More than 15,000 people march in protest after Beijing announces that there will be no direct elections for Hong Kong's head of government -- known as the Chief Executive -- in 2007, and no increase in elected representation in the 2008 elections for legislators.
China Promises Democratic Vote
Beijing says Hong Kong’s citizens can directly vote for their Chief Executive in the 2017 elections. Currently, an electoral college chooses the region's head of government.
The unofficial referendum
Hong Kong holds a controversial unofficial referendum to change the way its leader is chosen, drawing nearly 800,000 online and in-person votes.
China's National Day
Protesters remain in the streets of Hong Kong calling for the city's pro-Beijing leader to step down on the day marking the founding of the People's Republic of China in 1949.