SOAS Research Online

A Free Database of the Latest Research by SOAS Academics and PhD Students

[skip to content]

Hau, Milia (2021) 'The Official Mind of British Post-Imperialism: Influencing Parliamentary Opinions during the Anglo-Chinese Negotiations on the Future of Hong Kong, 1982-84.' The International History Review, 43 (6). pp. 1198-1216.

Text - Accepted Version
Download (462kB) | Preview


Based on newly declassified archival sources, the author argues that parliamentary approval was a major British negotiation strategy during negotiations over the future of Hong Kong. British diplomats insisted to their Chinese counterparts that any agreement on the Future of Hong Kong be subject to parliamentary approval, though such pre-condition was a political and not a legal one. The role of Parliament was manipulated domestically to avoid public scrutiny. Through a series of briefings, the FCO discouraged parliamentarians from discussing or raising questions about the future of Hong Kong for fear of damaging confidence. The approval of Hongkongers, the majority of whom wanted to remain part of the British Empire was originally a prerequisite for the joint agreement. This condition was dropped in the later stages of negotiations when Hongkongers’ wishes became unattainable in the face of the People’s Republic of China (PRC)’s threat to take unilateral action on Hong Kong, and Ministers even openly discredited voices from Hong Kong. Eventually, Parliament approved the Joint Declaration on the basis of an unsound and tokenistic consultation of the opinion of Hongkongers. In an examination of the official mind in the post-imperial epoch, this paper offers new perspectives on the role of Parliament in British foreign affairs.

Item Type: Journal Article
Keywords: Margaret Thatcher, UK-China relations, handover of Hong Kong, Sino-British Joint Declaration, official mind
SOAS Departments & Centres: Regional Centres and Institutes > SOAS China Institute
SOAS Doctoral School
ISSN: 07075332
Copyright Statement: ©2021 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in The International History Review on 14 Feb 2021, available online:
DOI (Digital Object Identifier):
Date Deposited: 17 Feb 2021 16:05
Funders: Other, Other

Altmetric Data


Download activity - last 12 monthsShow export options
Downloads since deposit
6 month trend
6 month trend
Accesses by country - last 12 monthsShow export options
Accesses by referrer - last 12 monthsShow export options

Repository staff only

Edit Item Edit Item