Aug. 28, 1842
The Queen of England and the Emperor of China sign the Treaty of Nanking, ending the first Opium War and ceding Hong Kong Island to Britain.
March 1, 1979
Hong Kong Governor Murray MacLehose raises the issue of Hong Kong with Chinese leader Deng Xiaoping on his first official visit to China. Deng says China will reassert sovereignty over the “special region” after June 30, 1979.
April 1, 1982
Former British Prime Minister Edward Heath meets Deng Xiaoping as Margaret Thatcher’s special envoy. Deng tells him after 1997 China will rule Hong Kong under a “one country, two systems” policy.
Dec. 19, 1984
The Sino-British Joint Declaration, a treaty agreeing that all of Hong Kong would be returned to China at midnight on June 30, 1997, is signed in Beijing after four months of talks. It is ratified in May 1985.
April 4, 1990
China’s National People’s Congress approves the final draft of the Basic Law
June 30, 1997
The British flag is lowered and the Hong Kong and Chinese flags raised at midnight to signal Hong Kong’s return to Chinese sovereignty after 156 years of British rule.
July 1, 2003
Half a million people spill onto Hong Kong’s streets to protest against proposed Hong Kong Basic Law Article 23. The government shelved the proposed legislation and they have not been re-introduced since, instead a national security law is passed by China’s National People’s Congress in 2020.
July 1, 2014
Hundreds of thousands of pro-democracy protesters march through Hong Kong, calling for a genuinely democratic vote in 2017. Police arrest over 500 protesters who stage an overnight sit-in in the main business district.
Aug. 1, 2014
The Standing Committee of China’s National People’s Congress rules out a fully democratic election for Hong Kong leader in 2017, by imposing tight rules on nominations of candidates who want to run in the poll.
Feb. 1, 2019
Hong Kong’s Security Bureau proposes amendments to extradition laws that would allow extraditions to mainland China and other countries not covered by existing treaties.
June 9, 2019
More than half a million people take to the streets to protest against the extradition law.
Sept. 4, 2019
Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam announces the extradition bill will be withdrawn. Critics say it is too little, too late.
Nov. 17, 2019
Protracted, at-times fiery siege at the Hong Kong Polytechnic University as police surround campus after students and activists barricaded themselves inside. More than 1,100 mostly young activists are arrested in what was widely seen as the police’s first major success against the movement.
April 17, 2020
Beijing’s top representative office in Hong Kong says it is not bound by a law restricting interference by mainland Chinese bodies, stoking concerns over China’s encroachment.
April 18, 2020
Police arrest 15 activists, including Democratic Party founder Martin Lee, 81, and millionaire publishing tycoon Jimmy Lai, 71, in the biggest crackdown on the pro-democracy movement since protests escalated in June.
May 28, 2020
China’s parliament overwhelmingly approves imposing national security legislation on Hong Kong to tackle secession, subversion, terrorism and foreign interference.
June 30, 2020
The Standing Committee of China’s National People’s Congress passes the National Security Law bypassing the territory’s Legislative Council.
Aug. 23, 2020
Authorities in Guangdong Province arrest 12 Hong Kong activists fleeing in a speedboat to the democratic island of Taiwan.
Feb. 28, 2021
Authorities charged 47 pro-democracy activists, including sitting councilors and former lawmakers, with “subversion” under the national security law.
March 31, 2021
A new political system imposed and controlled by the ruling Chinese Communist Party takes effect. The system ensures that anyone standing for election to Hong Kong’s legislature is a staunch CCP supporter, with all candidates vetted by the national security police before being allowed to stand.
June 4, 2021
Hundreds of people gather near the site of the banned Tiananmen candlelight vigil, lighting up their phone flashlights as thousands of police guard the area and prevent anyone from getting through.
June 11, 2021
The Hong Kong government announces that all films, especially documentaries, will soon be vetted for breaches of the national security law imposed on the city by the ruling Chinese Communist Party.
June 23, 2021
Hong Kong’s Apple Daily newspaper announces it will be shutting down following a raid on its headquarters by national security police and the arrests of several executives for “collusion with foreign powers.” It publishes its final edition the next day.
July 22, 2021
Five members of a speech therapists’ union are arrested over a series of children’s books depicting “seditious” sheep, that the authorities said showed support for the 2019 protest movement and “incited hatred” toward the city’s government.
Aug. 10, 2021
The city’s largest teachers’ union says it will disband following a growing number of attacks from pro-Beijing newspapers.
Sept. 9, 2021
Police on Thursday charge the organizers of a now-banned candlelight vigil commemorating the June 4, 1989 Tiananmen massacre with “subversion,” following a raid on a museum they founded to preserve historical records of the bloodshed.
Oct. 11, 2021
The city’s education bureau declares schoolchildren in Hong Kong from kindergarten upward will be required to take part in regular ceremonies to raise the Chinese flag, starting Jan. 1, 2022.
Oct. 25, 2021
Amnesty International says it will shut down its offices in Hong Kong by the end of the year, amid an ongoing crackdown on dissent by the ruling Chinese Communist Party.
Dec. 13, 2021
Hong Kong court sentences pro-democracy media mogul Jimmy Lai to a 13-month jail term for “inciting” others to take part in a banned candlelight vigil for the victims of the 1989 Tiananmen massacre. The court also sentences barrister and vigil organizer Chow Hang-tung to 12 months and former Stand News journalist Gwyneth Ho to six months.
Dec. 23, 2021
University of Hong Kong removes the Pillar of Shame, a monument to the 1989 Tiananmen massacre victims. University authorities said the statue was being removed “based on external legal advice and risk assessment for the best interest of the University.”
Dec. 29, 2021
Pro-democracy news website Stand News closes after Hong Kong police arrest seven and freeze the outlet’s assets.
Jan. 24, 2022
Popular Hong Kong media organization Citizen News announces it will cease operations.
May 3, 2022
Hong Kong falls 68 places to 148 on Reporters Without Borders’ global press freedom index.
May 8, 2022
As the sole candidate, former security chief John Lee is “elected” by a Beijing-backed committee for the city’s top job. He had overseen the violent crackdown on the 2019 protest movement.
May 11, 2022
National security police in Hong Kong arrest four people including Cardinal Joseph Zen and pop star Denise Ho on suspicion of “collusion with foreign powers” after they acted as trustees for a legal defense fund for democracy protesters.
June 4, 2022
Hong Kong police arrest six people on public order offenses around the 33rd anniversary of the Tiananmen massacre near Victoria Park, commemoration of which has been banned under a draconian national security law for the third year in a row.
June 10, 2022
The Hong Kong-based investigative news agency FactWire announces closure. It ran a non-profit, public service news agency for six years.
July 1, 2022
Chinese President Xi Jinping swears in new Chief Executive John Lee.