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Q: 1898 China leased parts of Honkong to Britain. ( Answered 4 out of 5 stars,   2 Comments )
Subject: 1898 China leased parts of Honkong to Britain.
Category: Relationships and Society > Politics
Asked by: haniray1-ga
List Price: $50.00
Posted: 31 Jan 2003 08:42 PST
Expires: 02 Mar 2003 08:42 PST
Question ID: 155652

 In 1841 :the Chinese island of Hongkong was occupied by British
forces. It was   formally ceded by China, in 1842, by the Treaty of
Nanking .

In 1860 : Kowloon Peninsula and Stonecutters Island ceded by China
(Convention of Peking / Beijing).

In 1898 : The "New Territories" - comprising the territories north of
Kowloon and several islands (Lamma, Lantau,...) - leased from China to
Great Britain, for 99 years (second Convention of Peking / Beijing).

My question is : How much was the 1898 "New Territories" lease worth?
How many instalments? which chinese sect were the beneficiary?
Subject: Re: 1898 China leased parts of Honkong to Britain.
Answered By: justaskscott-ga on 31 Jan 2003 17:42 PST
Rated:4 out of 5 stars
Hello haniray1-ga,

The short answer to your question is: there was no rent; there were no
installments; and the Emperor of China (and presumably the successor
Chinese governments) would have been the beneficiary if there had been
rent and installments.  In other words, the United Kingdom was the
beneficiary of this document.

As one source explains:

"In 1898, as the Western nations and Japan scrambled to establish
competing spheres of influence in China in the wake of China's defeat
by Japan in 1895 -- a wide-ranging landgrab that prompted many Chinese
to express the fear that their country would be 'carved up like a
melon' by the foreign powers -- Britain insisted that the government
of the Qing dynasty (1644-1911) grant a ninety-nine year lease on the
'New Territories,' beyond Kowloon.  No rent was provided for in this
second Convention of Peking, in which Britain confined itself to
taking a lease rather than outright possession in order to discourage
competing foreign powers from seizing control over other Chinese

This source also notes: "For British discussion on this topic, see
documents contained in Great Britain, Foreign Office, Records:
Confidential Print, China, 1848 to 1922 (inclusive) FO405, vols. 77
and 78, passim.  Britain was ready to go to pay 'reasonable
compensation' if China asked for it, but according to British sources
China did not do so."

"Reading: A Brief History of Hong Kong to 1910", by Joanna Waley-Cohen

Another source explains that the Convention was signed in Peking by
the British Minister in Peking, Claude Macdonald, and two members
(including the Grand Secretary) of the Chinese Foreign Office (Tsungli
Yamen), Li Hung-Chang and Hsu Ting-Kuei.  The convention was then
signed in London by Prime Minister/Foreign Minister Lord Salisbury and
Sir Chichen Lofênghih, Envoy Extraordinary and Minister
Plenipotentiary of H.I.M. the Emperor of China.

"Convention of Peking"
Signed and Sealed

"The People, 1898"
Signed and Sealed

Another source mentions that the 99 year lease was "rent free".

"Articles" [under "One Country, One-and-a-Half Systems: The Hong Kong
Basic Law and Its Breaches of the Sino-British Joint Declaration"]
University of Wisconsin Law School

I have not found a complete text of the Convention online.  However,
it appears that the key text is simply:

"...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."

"International Boundary Study: No. 13 – April 13, 1962: China – Hong
The Geographer, Office of the Geographer, Bureau of Intelligence and
Limits in the Seas
The Florida State University College of Law

Calligraphic versions of two pages from the Convention are in the art
exhibit cited earlier.  The title page is on the first page I cited;
some text (including the key text mentioned above) is found here:

Signed and Sealed

The title page says simply "China - Convention - Extension of Hong
Kong Territory - Peking 9th June 1898".  In the event that you need to
look up the complete text, the convention is cited variously as:

"Convention Between China and Great Britain Respecting an Extension of
Hong Kong Territory (Convention of Peking), June 29, 1898, Gr.
Brit.-P.R.C., 186 Consol. T.S. 310."

["The Hong Kong Special Administrative Region as a Model of Regional
Autonomy", by Xiaobing Xu & George D. Wilson [page 20, footnote 86]
Case Western Reserve Journal of International Law ]

"Convention Respecting an Extension of Hong Kong Territory, 9 June
1898, China-U.K., 186 Cons. T.S. 310."

["The Meaning of the Right to Vote in Hong Kong", by Simon Young [page
6 of PDF file, footnote 8
McGill Law Journal

"Convention of Respecting an Extension of Hong Kong Territory, June 9,
China-Gr. Brit., 90 Brit. For. St. Pap. 17, 186 Consol. T.S. 310."

["Note: In re Extradition of Lui Kin-Hong: Examining the Effects of
Hong Kong's Reversion to the People's Republic of China on United
States-United Kingdom Treaty Obligations", By Jonathan A. Demella
American University Law Review]

Here is a page of sources that you might consult if you need further

Signed and Sealed

I hope that this information is helpful.

- justaskscott-ga

Search terms used on Google:

"new territories" 1898 "second convention"
"hong kong" "99 year" "rent free"
"convention of peking" "hong kong"
convention extension "hong kong territory"

[I tried several other searches as well, but these were the ones that
resulted in the pages I have cited.]
haniray1-ga rated this answer:4 out of 5 stars
The answer of my question was in the first quotation you mentioned,
from Reading: A Brief History of Hong Kong to 1910 by Joanna
Waley-Cohen; and the documents contained in Great Britain, Foreign
Office, Records from where she quoted the information. the remaining
research of yours was enriching, but did not hit on the question of
the lease money to be paid to china. I mean no other work did prove
Joanna Waley-Cohen's point on this specific matter....However it was
important to provide such background information in order to put the
question in its right context.

Thank You very much...


Subject: Re: 1898 China leased parts of Honkong to Britain.
From: secret901-ga on 31 Jan 2003 18:22 PST
Hello haniray1,
I have also worked on this before reaching the same conclusion as
justaskscott.  The following link provides the text of the agreement:

Search strategy:
"Unequal treaty" "Hong Kong"
Subject: Re: 1898 China leased parts of Honkong to Britain.
From: haniray1-ga on 31 Jan 2003 22:38 PST
to Mr/ms  secret901-ga,
Your answer does not hit on the question of the lease money to be paid to china:
lease worth? How many instalments? which chinese sect were the beneficiary?

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