When Did Hong Kong Become Independent?

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The Encyclopædia Britannica states that Hong Kong is not an independent state but a special administrative region under Chinese control. The British returned Hong Kong to China on July 1, 1997.

The New York Times notes that at the stroke of midnight of June 30, 1997, British soldiers lowered the Union Jack in a ceremony before the Chinese flag was raised, officially ending 156 years of British rule. According to the Encyclopædia Britannica, the territory of Hong Kong at the time of its return to China consisted of Hong Kong Island and other areas of land that had either been ceded or leased to the British during their time in power.