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Throughout the second half of the 20th century, we have witnessed the end of the empire, not just ofthe British, but ofall the major powers. Th e process of decolonization has been diverse and varied, as any world-historic process should be. Yet the outcome ofthat process has had a remarkable singularity: the colonies have emerged as independent sovereign nations. History took a different turn with Hong Kong. On July 1, 1997, at the end of aninety-nine year "lease", Britain returned Hong Kong to China.
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