Note New Territories is abbreviated to NT. Here's an overview of the UK's acquisition of HK -
The handover of Hong Kong was in 1997 so it's safe to discuss the PRC's land policy in Hong Kong. But I'm not too familiar with it, so perhaps another user can comment on it.
Hong Kong was acquired piecemeal by the British government. The Hong Kong island was ceded to the British monarchy in 1842, thus making the island property of the British Crown (Crown Land):
...the Island of Hong-Kong, to be possessed in perpetuity by Her Britannic Majesty, her heirs and successors...
Kowloon was first leased, and then outright ceded to the British monarchy in 1860, thus also making it Crown land:
His Imperial Majesty the Emperor of China agrees to code to Her Majesty the Queen of Great Britain and Ireland, and to her heirs and successors, to have and to hold as a dependency of Her Majesty's colony of Hong Kong, that portion of the township of Cowloon, in the province of Kwang-Tung, of which lease was granted in perpetuity to HARRY SMITH PARKES, Esq., Companion of the Bath, a member of the Allied Commission at Canton, on behalf of Her Britannic Majesty's Government, by LAN TSUNG KWANG, Governor-General of Two Kwang.
The rest of the land, mostly rural farmlands and villages, was actually leased to the British government for 99 years ("As good as forever" according to the British representative) in the Convention for the Extension of Hong Kong Territory, signed in 1898:
It has now been agreed between the Governments of Great Britain and China that the limits of British territory shall be enlarged under lease to the extent indicated generally on the annexed map... The term of this lease shall be ninety-nine years.
This was also the treaty that set up the handover date of 1997. The same treaty also left an exclusion for the Kowloon Walled City:
It is at the same time agreed that within the city of Kowloon the Chinese officials now stationed there shall continue to exercise jurisdiction except so far as may be inconsistent with the military requirements for the defence of Hong Kong.
So to summarize, lands were either owned by the British crown, or by the Chinese government but leased to the British government. In any case, there were no private ownership of land apart from the aforementioned exclusions.
Did the British in 1898 overlook the significance of the NT? Even if this significance weren't obvious in 1898, Kowloon and NT are obviously contiguous. Thus wouldn't it have been shrewd to control NT still?
RockyMcNuts 9 points 6 years ago
The island and the NT were highly integrated, there was a subway connecting them, and there were essential facilities in the NT. It would have been like dividing Manhattan from Brooklyn and Queens and drawing a border down the middle of the East River. Wouldn't have been viable as the kind of world city it had become.
MrBuddles 3 points 6 years ago
The leased area contained around half the population of the colony, along with several important infrastructure and government buildings e.g. hospitals, universities, landfills, mass transit hubs and the only remaining airport. It would have been impractical to attempt to maintain Hong Kong as a sovereign nation lacking that infrastructure (and especially since Hong Kong is largely a trade hub - it could not survive without the airport).
snackburros 39 points 6 years ago* [* means last edited 2013]
Thatcher then brought up her view as to how the treaties were historically valid, but this only angered Deng who for all intents and purposes threatened military action. The talks didn't go anywhere really, but Thatcher seemed to have forgotten that due to the proximity, Beijing's words can wreck significant havoc on Hong Kong's economy, which in this case, it did [emboldening mine]. David Bonavia of the Times wrote "seldom in British colonial history was so much damage done to the interests of so many people, in such a short space of time by a single person." The stock market tanked and with it, the value of the HK Dollar as well, because there were genuine fears that the PLA would march across Shenzhen River and take over Hong Kong.
LAiglon144 14 points 1 year ago
It's important to remember that the 99 year lease was only for the "New Territories", the parts of the Colony that were on the mainland and separate from Hong Kong Island itself. The British Colony on Hong Kong Island was ceeded to the British in perpetuity by the Qing Empire. So when the 99 year lease came up, the British were technically only obligated to give up the mainland portion of the territory. However the highly interconnected nature of the "New Territories" to Hong Kong Island made separating the two unworkable, and thus Britain negotiated to give the entirety of the colony (with some major political provisos) to the PRC. It's a fascinating topic.