After UK handover, Hong Kong in uneasy transition

Twenty years since the handover of power from Britain to China, Hong Kong remains a place undergoing an uneasy transition.

At midnight on June 30, 1997, the British colonial administration relinquished control of the Asian financial center to Hong Kong’s new rulers, China’s Communist leaders.

With a new “Basic Law” constitution and a framework known as “one country, two systems,” Hong Kongers were promised that they could keep their capitalist way of life, including western-style civil liberties and considerable autonomy, for 50 years.

However, many residents are increasingly concerned about mainland China’s rising influence in Hong Kong. They worry that Beijing is backtracking on its promises, putting their way of life under threat.

Mainland China’s growing profile amid lingering signs of the British colonial era are seen in these photos by Associated Press photographer Vincent Yu, who used a “tilt-shift” lens to accentuate certain elements of the image and provide a new perspective.

Chinese symbols like national flags or a giant ad for mainland liquor loom over the city in some photos. Some British-era icons haven’t faded over time, like a justice statue over the law courts, while others show what has disappeared, like the spot on the wall of the City Hall building where colonial insignia used to hang.

In this June 27, 2017, photo made with a tilt-shift lens, a photograph showing Chinese and British flags during the ceremony for the handover of Hong Kong to China on July 1, 1997, is displayed at an exhibition in Hong Kong. Two decades since Beijing took control of Hong Kong, China's rising influence – and Britain's waning profile – are impossible to ignore. (AP Photo/Vincent Yu)

In this May 29, 2017, photo made with a tilt-shift lens, a Chinese national flag and a Hong Kong flag are flown at the Legislative Council, the legislature of Hong Kong. In Hong Kong's semi-democratic 70-seat Legislative Council, some lawmakers are directly elected and others represent business and professional groups, in a system that pro-democracy supporters complain lets Beijing maintain a disproportionate level of control. Two decades since Beijing took control of Hong Kong, China's rising influence – and Britain's waning profile – are impossible to ignore. (AP Photo/Vincent Yu)

In this May 31, 2017, photo made with a tilt-shift lens, the roots of an old banyan tree covers a wall and a plaque at Britain's King George V Memorial Park in Hong Kong. (AP Photo/Vincent Yu)

In this June 8, 2017, photo made with a tilt-shift lens, a Chinese national flag and a Hong Kong flag are seen at the East Wing Forecourt of the Central Government Office in Hong Kong. The forecourt, known as Civic Square which is next to Hong Kong's city government headquarters, was fenced off in July 2014, angering activists who said the government had promised to let it be used for demonstrations. Student protesters rushed the courtyard in September 2014, sparking the 79-day "Umbrella Movement" protests. Two decades since Beijing took control of Hong Kong, China's rising influence – and Britain's waning profile – are impossible to ignore. (AP Photo/Vincent Yu)

In this May 29, 2017, photo made with a tilt-shift lens, a mark still remains on the wall after the removal of the British colonial emblem at City Hall in Hong Kong. Two decades since Beijing took control of Hong Kong in 1997, China's rising influence – and Britain's waning profile – are impossible to ignore. (AP Photo/Vincent Yu)

In this June 12, 2017, photo made with a tilt-shift lens, a Chinese national flag and a Hong Kong flag are flown at the High Court in Hong Kong. Under the "one country, two systems" principle, Hong Kong retains an independent judiciary, setting it apart from mainland China. Two decades since Beijing took control of Hong Kong, China's rising influence – and Britain's waning profile – are impossible to ignore. (AP Photo/Vincent Yu)

In this June 4, 2017, photo made with a tilt-shift lens, a statue of Britain's Queen Victoria is seen at Victoria Park in Hong Kong. The park near the Causeway Bay downtown shopping district has been the rallying point for the annual pro-democracy march and vigil to remember victims of the bloody 1989 military crackdown on protesters in Beijing's Tiananmen Square. Two decades since Beijing took control of Hong Kong, China's rising influence – and Britain's waning profile – are impossible to ignore. (AP Photo/Vincent Yu)

In this June 27, 2017, photo made with a tilt-shift lens, a Chinese national flag is flown at the the Chinese central government's Liaison Office in Hong Kong. The office is a frequent target of protests by pro-democracy supporters, who believe that officials stationed there are the real power in Hong Kong. Two decades since Beijing took control of Hong Kong, China's rising influence – and Britain's waning profile – are impossible to ignore. (AP Photo/Vincent Yu)

In this June 1, 2017, photo made with a tilt-shift lens, Hong Kong Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying, center, speaks after lawmaker Leung Kwok-hung, also known as Long Hair threw "hell money" during his last question-and-answer session at the legislative council in Hong Kong. Hong Kong's departing leader, Leung Chun-ying, also known as CY, is viewed by pro-democracy activists as a puppet of Beijing. Two decades since Beijing took control of Hong Kong, China's rising influence – and Britain's waning profile – are impossible to ignore. (AP Photo/Vincent Yu)

In this May 31, 2017, photo made with a tilt-shift lens, a Chinese national flag and a Hong Kong flag fly at the Court of Final Appeal in Hong Kong. Under the "one country, two systems" principle, Hong Kong retains an independent judiciary, setting it apart from mainland China. (AP Photo/Vincent Yu)

In this May 31, 2017, photo made with a tilt-shift lens, the blind-folded statue of the Greek goddess of justice and law is seen on top of the Court of Final Appeal in Hong Kong. (AP Photo/Vincent Yu)

In this June 8, 2017, photo made with a tilt-shift lens, a Chinese national flag and a Hong Kong flag are flown as Victoria Harbor is seen at rear in Hong Kong. Hong Kong's famous waterfront retains its British colonial-era name and was the scene of Britain's farewell from its colony in 1997. Two decades since Beijing took control of Hong Kong, China's rising influence – and Britain's waning profile – are impossible to ignore. (AP Photo/Vincent Yu)

In this May 27, 2017, photo made with a tilt-shift lens, an adverting board of China's best known spirit 'Wuliangye' is seen at the Tsim Sha Tsui district in Hong Kong. The Chinese words read "Wuliangye for China for the world". (AP Photo/Vincent Yu)

In this May 29, 2017, photo made with a tilt-shift lens, a Chinese national flag and a Hong Kong flag fly above the Court of Final Appeal in Hong Kong. (AP Photo/Vincent Yu)

In this May 31, 2017, photo made with a tilt-shift lens, people walk at Central district in Hong Kong. Two decades since Beijing took control of Hong Kong, China's rising influence – and Britain's waning profile – are impossible to ignore. (AP Photo/Vincent Yu)

In this June 25, 2017, photo made with a tilt-shift lens, a Chinese national flag and a Hong Kong flag fly over a public housing estate in Hong Kong. Two decades since Beijing took control of Hong Kong, China's rising influence – and Britain's waning profile – are impossible to ignore. (AP Photo/Vincent Yu)

In this May 28, 2017, photo made with a tilt-shift lens, protesters in Hong Kong carry placards with Chinese words that read: "Exonerate the June 4 Protest" as hundreds of Hong Kong people march on a downtown street to mark the 28th anniversary of China's crackdown on Tiananmen Square. Two decades since Beijing took control of Hong Kong, China's rising influence – and Britain's waning profile – are impossible to ignore. (AP Photo/Vincent Yu)

In this June 7, 2017, photo made with a tilt-shift lens, a Chinese national flag flies at the Convention and Exhibition Center in Hong Kong. Hong Kong's massive waterfront convention center was the venue for 1997's handover ceremonies, where Chinese and Beijing officials presided over the transfer of power beginning at midnight on June 30, 1997. It will be a key location for the 20th anniversary events attended by President Xi Jingping. (AP Photo/Vincent Yu)

In this June 4, 2017, photo made with a tilt-shift lens, a statue of the Goddess of Democracy is displayed at Hong Kong's Victoria Park ahead of a candlelight vigil for victims of the Chinese government's military crackdown nearly three decades ago on protesters in Beijing's Tiananmen Square. (AP Photo/Vincent Yu)

In this June 23, 2017, photo made with a tilt-shift lens, a Chinese national flag and a Hong Kong flag fly above the central business district in Hong Kong. Two decades since Beijing took control of Hong Kong, China's rising influence – and Britain's waning profile – are impossible to ignore. (AP Photo/Vincent Yu)

In this June 16, 2017, photo made with a tilt-shift lens, a Chinese soldier stands guard at the Chinese People's Liberation Army Forces building in Hong Kong. Hong Kong has no military of its own so its defense is left up to China's People's Liberation Army, which maintains a low key presence at a base near the city's financial district. (AP Photo/Vincent Yu)

In this June 4, 2017, photo made with a tilt-shift lens, tens of thousands of people attend a candlelight vigil in Victoria Park in Hong Kong for victims of the Chinese government's military crackdown nearly three decades ago on protesters in Beijing's Tiananmen Square. Two decades since Beijing took control of Hong Kong, China's rising influence – and Britain's waning profile – are impossible to ignore. (AP Photo/Vincent Yu)

In this June 24, 2017, photo made with a tilt-shift lens, a Chinese national flag appears on a screen to mark the 20th handover anniversary at Victoria Habor in Hong Kong. Hong Kong's famous waterfront retains its British colonial era name and was the scene of Britain's farewell from its colony. Since Beijing took control of Hong Kong in 1997, China's rising influence – and Britain's waning profile – are impossible to ignore. (AP Photo/Vincent Yu)


Text from the AP news story, AP PHOTOS: After UK handover, Hong Kong in uneasy transition.

Photos by Vincent Yu

Associated Press writer Kelvin Chan contributed to this report.

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