WI the UK handed Hong Kong over to Taiwan?

Noticed this over on r/AlternateHistory, and the discussion was a bit (ahem) lacking, so I thought I'd ask here. What if the United Kingdom handed Hong Kong over to Taiwan rather than the PRC?
The UK didn't have any relations with Taiwan at that time, so there was no other option but to hand it over to the PRC. The only way that photoshop makes sense is if there was either an overwhelming GMD victory in the Civil War (not going to happen unless it regenerates early on and gets rid of Jiang, T.V. Soong and their ilk), or gets replaced by the China Democratic League as the ROC's ruling party, or the GMD is so overwhelmingly defeated the CPC takes up the ROC mantle for itself (instead of replacing it with the PRC).
 

dcharleos

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The UK didn't have any relations with Taiwan at that time, so there was no other option but to hand it over to the PRC. The only way that photoshop makes sense is if there was either an overwhelming GMD victory in the Civil War (not going to happen unless it regenerates early on and gets rid of Jiang, T.V. Soong and their ilk), or gets replaced by the China Democratic League as the ROC's ruling party, or the GMD is so overwhelmingly defeated the CPC takes up the ROC mantle for itself (instead of replacing it with the PRC).

I'm not a China expert by any means, so don't take this the wrong way.

But it seems like a much easier way is to have the UK have relations with ROC. What are the factors for and against?
 

CalBear

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Noticed this over on r/AlternateHistory, and the discussion was a bit (ahem) lacking, so I thought I'd ask here. What if the United Kingdom handed Hong Kong over to Taiwan rather than the PRC?

Is this possible? Does this mean an inevitable war?

For the post I saw on Reddit: https://www.reddit.com/r/AlternateHistory/comments/priogh
No. It is not possible.

Not even close to possible. No one in the UK government would have even considered it simply because it would have absolutely led to the PLA overrunning Hong Kong with the British unable to even get the special treatment provisions that allowed Hong Kong a degree of freedom for a generation.

The UK recognized the CCP as the legitimate successor rulers of China on January 6, 1950. The Hong Kong lease with with the legitimate rulers of China. At the end of the lease they turned the keys over to the landlord.
 
Noticed this over on r/AlternateHistory, and the discussion was a bit (ahem) lacking, so I thought I'd ask here. What if the United Kingdom handed Hong Kong over to Taiwan rather than the PRC?

Is this possible? Does this mean an inevitable war?

For the post I saw on Reddit: https://www.reddit.com/r/AlternateHistory/comments/priogh
Only if the British doesn't recognize the PRC in 1950. One of the reasons why they were one of the first non-communist nations to recognize the PRC was over Hong Kong.
 
I'm not a China expert by any means, so don't take this the wrong way.

But it seems like a much easier way is to have the UK have relations with ROC. What are the factors for and against?

You mean the UK recognizes the ROC as the real China? That would seem to be the only way a handover to Taiwan makes sense(going by the treaty), but it would definitely make the UK the odd-man-out in a world where even the anti-Communist USA accepted the mainland's claims by the 1970s. I think you'd really need a radically different 20th Century for that to work.
 

dcharleos

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Only if the British doesn't recognize the PRC in 1950. One of the reasons why they were one of the first non-communist nations to recognize the PRC was over Hong Kong.
The UK recognized the CCP as the legitimate successor rulers of China on January 6, 1950. The Hong Kong lease with with the legitimate rulers of China. At the end of the lease they turned the keys over to the landlord.

Ah! I see. That makes a lot of sense.

Nonetheless, the headline is quite striking. So, it looks like Clement Atlee was PM in 1950, but Churchill got back in a year or so later. Would Churchill have made the same decision as Atlee?
 
You mean the UK recognizes the ROC as the real China? That would seem to be the only way a handover to Taiwan makes sense(going by the treaty), but it would definitely make the UK the odd-man-out in a world where even the anti-Communist USA accepted the mainland's claims by the 1970s. I think you'd really need a radically different 20th Century for that to work.
The Europeans OTL were concerned about the PRC invading their concessions OTL. India wasn't even Communist and yet they invaded Goa. China was on an all time high nationalism not seen in over a century and a half.
 
Five minutes after the last British forces left the PRC would invade, assuming they didn't do it earlier when they found out about the negotiations. The Republic of China is no more capable of defending Hong Kong against Red China than Britain. They know this as well as everyone else so wouldn't want anything to do with taking over Hong Kong only to lose it hours later.
 

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Ah! I see. That makes a lot of sense.

Nonetheless, the headline is quite striking. So, it looks like Clement Atlee was PM in 1950, but Churchill got back in a year or so later. Would Churchill have made the same decision as Atlee?
Churchill might have tried to hold off reality for a few years, wouldn't matter. The British are, in general, vastly more pragmatic regarding foreign relations than the U.S..
 

dcharleos

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Five minutes after the last British forces left the PRC would invade, assuming they didn't do it earlier when they found out about the negotiations. The Republic of China is no more capable of defending Hong Kong against Red China than Britain. They know this as well as everyone else so wouldn't want anything to do with taking over Hong Kong only to lose it hours later.

I mean, I feel like this invasion thing is overstated. If the UK had always recognized the ROC as the "real" China, then the PRC has had fifty years to let the sting wear off.

Are they really going to risk WW3 over Hong Kong? Because that's certainly what would happen.
 

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Five minutes after the last British forces left the PRC would invade, assuming they didn't do it earlier when they found out about the negotiations. The Republic of China is no more capable of defending Hong Kong against Red China than Britain. They know this as well as everyone else so wouldn't want anything to do with taking over Hong Kong only to lose it hours later.
Much less capable actually.

The British always had the (in this case as a SPECTACULARLY dumb) option of Special Weapons to use, at least as a threat. The ROC had zip.

I have always wondered (while being too lazy to really research the answer) if the British really WANTED to hold onto Hong Kong after 1997. If they had it seems reasonable that the time to renegotiate the least was in 1945, maybe even before the Japanese were defeated, when the Chang government was more... amenable to discussion with the government that was in control of the Burma Road and had the WAllied primary responsibility for the South China Sea.
 

CalBear

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I mean, I feel like this invasion thing is overstated. If the UK had always recognized the ROC as the "real" China, then the PRC has had fifty years to let the sting wear off.

Are they really going to risk WW3 over Hong Kong? Because that's certainly what would happen.
No one was going to go to WW III to help the ROC hold Hong Kong. It is an open question exactly how far the U.S. is willing to go to defend Taiwan (which is quite intentional on the part of the U.S.), much less an enclave that is effectively indefensible without engaging in a long term land war in Asia.

Where you MIGHT get some serious, world altering changes is if the U.S. and UK decided to block the PRC's accession to the WTO. That would, of course, have totally destroyed Beijing's economic miracle, and kept most of the world markets mainly protectionist toward China.
 

dcharleos

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No one was going to go to WW III to help the ROC hold Hong Kong. It is an open question exactly how far the U.S. is willing to go to defend Taiwan (which is quite intentional on the part of the U.S.), much less an enclave that is effectively indefensible without engaging in a long term land war in Asia.

Where you MIGHT get some serious, world altering changes is if the U.S. and UK decided to block the PRC's accession to the WTO. That would, of course, have totally destroyed Beijing's economic miracle, and kept most of the world markets mainly protectionist toward China.

Very interesting. Because basically, the weaker the PRC is, the more everyone will be willing to defend the ROC.
 

CalBear

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Very interesting. Because basically, the weaker the PRC is, the more everyone will be willing to defend the ROC.
Even in the early 60s about the only country willing to defend the ROC was the U.S. Only 38 Countries didn't vote to extend the PRC the right to take China's Seat in the General Assembly (and Security Council) in 1971, of those the only ones that had any sort of status regarding a potential defense of Taiwan were Australia, Japan, the Philippines and New Zealand*, with only Australia being even theoretically able to assist (New Zealand lacked the available forces, outside of potentially a symbolic company or battalion, the Philippines were a critically important base, as was Japan, but neither would have been a source of military power). Even the other closest U.S. Allies, Canada and the UK, weren't on board.

The U.S. single-minded willingness to defend the ROC is absolutely unique and had been for over half a century. Even the U.S.' actually willingness to go to the mattresses is anything but certain, as has been the case since the late 70s.

*Neither the DPRK or ROK were UN members in 1971.
 

dcharleos

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Even in the early 60s about the only country willing to defend the ROC was the U.S. Only 38 Countries didn't vote to extend the PRC the right to take China's Seat in the General Assembly (and Security Council) in 1971, of those the only ones that had any sort of status regarding a potential defense of Taiwan were Australia, Japan, the Philippines and New Zealand*, with only Australia being even theoretically able to assist (New Zealand lacked the available forces, outside of potentially a symbolic company or battalion, the Philippines were a critically important base, as was Japan, but neither would have been a source of military power). Even the other closest U.S. Allies, Canada and the UK, weren't on board.

The U.S. single-minded willingness to defend the ROC is absolutely unique and had been for over half a century. Even the U.S.' actually willingness to go to the mattresses is anything but certain, as has been the case since the late 70s.

*Neither the DPRK or ROK were UN members in 1971.

But part of that willingness, especially on the part of nations like Canada, has got to be at least partly attributable to the fact that Britain acknowledged the PRC as the legitimate successor at a very early juncture. If that's changed, European opinion as a whole might be affected as well.
 
But part of that willingness, especially on the part of nations like Canada, has got to be at least partly attributable to the fact that Britain acknowledged the PRC as the legitimate successor at a very early juncture. If that's changed, European opinion as a whole might be affected as well.
Something Britain did chiefly because it couldn't defend Hong Kong and the PRC was willing to wait out the lease on the New Territories if they were recognised.
 

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But part of that willingness, especially on the part of nations like Canada, has got to be at least partly attributable to the fact that Britain acknowledged the PRC as the legitimate successor at a very early juncture. If that's changed, European opinion as a whole might be affected as well.
It was a dead issue by 1960. Even if the British, for Lord knows what reason, stayed the course, it was a dead issue.

The only reason the U.S. has been so strong on the issue was domestic politics. Any American leader who wrote off the ROC during the Cold War was going to get hung out to dry as been a "Red Lover" (keep in mind the PRC was normally called Red China into the 1990s, even in the more liberal sectors of the U.S. media). Now it is a matter of the U.S. doing what it can to contain the Chinese expansion into the Pacific (which gets into a REALLY interesting discussion regarding perceived minimal defensive boundaries and just how much of an overlap exists between the PRC and the U.S.).
 
Either the PRC collapses before 1997 (nuclear war with the USSR?) and the UK re-recognizes the ROC as China because it's the most legitimate remaining Chinese government, or a much nastier Cold War (e.g. a hyper-militant US or perhaps USSR which makes it clear that nukes will fly if the PRC sets foot in Hong Kong regardless; though such a world is likely to have a nuclear war sooner or later anyway). So...possible but not very likely or pleasant.
 
Much less capable actually.

The British always had the (in this case as a SPECTACULARLY dumb) option of Special Weapons to use, at least as a threat. The ROC had zip.

I have always wondered (while being too lazy to really research the answer) if the British really WANTED to hold onto Hong Kong after 1997. If they had it seems reasonable that the time to renegotiate the least was in 1945, maybe even before the Japanese were defeated, when the Chang government was more... amenable to discussion with the government that was in control of the Burma Road and had the WAllied primary responsibility for the South China Sea.
Maybe if Britain negotiated with Chiang Kai-shek to have entire New Territories ceded in perpetuity under the conditions on the land lease economic agreement post-World War II. This might possibly work if in 1943 talks agreement.
 
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