Politics in Hong Kong are at a boiling point as we go to press. For weeks street demonstrators have clashed with police as the government has tried to walk a fine line between meeting local demands and satisfying the instructions issued by the People's Republic of China. Ostensibly, the origin of this unrest lies in the handover of power from the British to the PRC in 1997, and the complicated governance structure that that handover created. But as historian Melvin Barnes demonstrates, the conflict between Hong Kong and Beijing has much deeper roots and this month he gives a primer on the political history of Hong Kong.

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