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The Hong Kong handover turns 25. So does an entire generation. : NPR | #socialmedia | #hacking | #aihp


Police guard a closed road outside the Xiqu Centre in Hong Kong on June 30, 2022, as Chinese President Xi Jinping arrives in Hong Kong to attend celebrations marking the 25th anniversary of the city’s handover from Britain to China.

Isaac Lawrence/AFP via Getty Images

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Isaac Lawrence/AFP via Getty Images

Police guard a closed road outside the Xiqu Centre in Hong Kong on June 30, 2022, as Chinese President Xi Jinping arrives in Hong Kong to attend celebrations marking the 25th anniversary of the city’s handover from Britain to China.

Isaac Lawrence/AFP via Getty Images

Anna Kwok, 25, and friends her age remember visiting Hong Kong Disneyland in 2007 — specifically, the free ticket they were able to scoop on the government-backed company’s dime.

Her friend, T — who, like Kwok, was born and raised in Hong Kong — took Disney up on their offer, he tells her as they catch up over Zoom. (NPR has agreed to allow T to use the initial of his last name out of fear of potential reprisal from Hong Kong’s government.)

“It was boring,” he chuckles.

The yearlong pass mostly served as a nicety to Kwok, T, and others born in 1997, the year the United Kingdom returned Hong Kong to Chinese control. They were constantly told by the adults in the room how special they were: they are the “handover babies.”

Visitors take photos at the Disneyland Resort in Hong Kong on June 18, 2020.

Billy H.C. Kwok/Getty Images

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Visitors take photos at the Disneyland Resort in Hong Kong on June 18, 2020.

Billy H.C. Kwok/Getty Images

“It sounds like a joke,” T says. “I don’t take being born in 1997 as something very special, to be honest. Maybe it’s just inevitable for our generation to deal with such events.”

On Thursday, the handover reaches a critical halfway point, as Hong Kong will officially become a part of China in 2047. Hong Kong is coming right off the heels of a COVID-19 health crisis, adding to the somber tone that still hangs over the city following the pro-democracy protests in 2014 and 2019, and subsequent government crackdowns against dissidents and political organizers through the 2020 national security law.

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