During the late 90s, all of Hong Kong’s public offices replaced their colonial flags with the Bauhinia flag, the Queen’s portrait disappeared from postage stamps and the “Royal” title was dropped from almost all organisations.

References to the ‘Crown’ were switched to the ‘State’ and the British honours system was replaced by the Grand Bauhinia Medal award. The day off for the Queen’s birthday became a public holiday to commemorate the Buddha’s birthday, Royal Mail pillar boxes were repainted and Hong Kong’s membership of the Commonwealth ceased.

On the big day itself, the Handover dominated world headlines. This grainy clip from Sky News details how the day unfolded.

The ceremony itself took place at 11pm in Admiralty.

This compilation clip contains highlights from Chris Patten’s last day as governor…

In 1999, a similar ceremony took place in neighbouring Macau as the Portuguese handed over control to Beijing.

Hong Wrong lives on at HKFP, offering a mix of news, mildly serious observation & irreverent claptrap chronicling the good, bad and ugly under the Fragrant Harbour’s fading lights.