As the region marks 20 years since its return to China, there is rightly concern about its future

It is 20 years since Hong Kong returned to China. Now as then, there is trepidation. In his first visit as Chinese leader, Xi Jinping has overseen a military parade – a reminder of Beijing’s might – and warned of “new challenges” to the “one country, two systems” framework which allows a high degree of autonomy for the region. On Friday, the foreign ministry described the Joint Declaration, the Sino-British treaty on those arrangements, as a historical document which no longer had practical significance.

Britain’s seizure of Hong Kong is a key part of China’s narrative of a century of humiliation by imperialist foreign powers, ended by the Communist party’s triumph. (Its belief that the west is determined to rain on its parade will be reinforced by the US announcements of sanctions on a Chinese bank linked to North Korea and arms sales to Taiwan just as Mr Xi arrived in the region for the anniversary celebrations.)

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