關於 About

2017年,香港主權移交20年,亦代表離香港2047年只餘30年。昔日香港人曾在前途談判被拒之門外的歷史,到今天有多少能夠回復歷史真相? 在沒有檔案法保障的香港,特區政府還剩下多少資料與文件,足夠讓社會大眾「回到過去」啟示香港的未來?

Last century, the people of Hong Kong were denied a seat on the discussion table regarding the city’s own future. As Hong Kong approaches the 20th anniversary of its handover from British to Chinese rule in 2017, and with 30 more years until its current status expires, the former colony has now reached a critical opening through which we should revisit its history and envision a future.


One way of achieving this would be to examine historical records that pertain to the handover talks and the fate of Hong Kong. The city’s lack of archival laws, however, means that access to these sources is sealed off from the public. Here are the new conditions that make our project possible starting in 2017:

  1. 2017年正值是回歸20周年及六七暴動50五十周年,不少80年代有關香港前途及政制發展的密檔亦因30年密封期過去而解凍。
    A large amount of declassified records on Hong Kong’s future in the 1980s has been or will be made available after being kept out of public view for three decades.
  2. 單是在英國國家檔案館 (National Archives),14個主要檔案系列內已有約5000份與香港問題相關的解密檔案,至今不少仍未被深究及公開。
    As many as 5,000 undisclosed files in 14 major document series related to Hong Kong at the UK National Archives have remained largely under-researched.
  3. 除了較為人熟知的英國國家檔案館,美國有三大收藏香港密檔的總統圖書館,大部分剛解密的關鍵文件仍是鮮人發掘,有待公諸於世。
    Besides the UK National Archives, there are three major presidential libraries in America containing key documents that are somehow unfamiliar to the general public of Hong Kong.
  4. 現時各類已被研究過的解密歷史檔案,都很少作開放公眾使用,亦未有讓公眾容易理解當中重要環節的公共方式。
    Current archival research rarely makes public their sources or highlight key findings to the wider community.


We—the Liber Research Community, Demosisto, and a group of young scholars—hereby propose a comprehensive archival research project that aims to look into previously undisclosed or classified files that may (re)initiate discussions about Hong Kong’s democratic development, post-2047 possibilities, and related social matters. By proposing an independent research project “Decoding Hong Kong’s History: Declassified Archival Research on the Future of Hong Kong”, we hope to contribute to exposing the historical truth of both Hong Kong’s future and many of the social realities. By analysing key undisclosed documents in different archives, our research would be critical not only for scholarship, but also for future social and democratic movements in Hong Kong and, eventually, for the fate of the city we live in.

研究計劃工作內容 Proposed Research Works

Forming a team of young scholars to locate and organise declassified records related to the discussion of Hong Kong’s future in the 1980s, which are archived in seven archives centres in Hong Kong, Taiwan, the UK and the US.

Forming a specialised team to analyse and classify those records, and to provoke public discourse.

Generating a public and media platform to nurture independent research, to create featured coverage, and to educate the public on this issue.

Engaging the public by visualising our research findings.

具體研究課題 Research Items/Themes


Sovereignty and the future of Hong Kong: to card and reorganise the events of the Sino-British negotiations from 1979 to 1984, the proposed solutions to Hong Kong’s future, and the controversy over the removal of Hong Kong from the United Nation List of Non-Self-Governing Territories in 1972, etc.


Constitutions and legal system: to sort out the disputes over the drafting of the Basic Law, inparticular the provisions for interpretation of the Basic Law, and proposals on constitutional development and electoral systems, the birth of functional constituencies in the Legislative Council, and roadmap for democratisation, etc.


Hong Kong-China and foreign affairs: to uncover the interference and activities of Chinese enterprises in Hong Kong, and to study the disputes on Hong Kong-China land, air and sea borders, international treaties binding British Hong Kong, Hong Kong’s diplomatic role, etc.

Social issues: to study various social policies under the colonial administration such as population policy and education system, the issue of illicit trades and parallel goods across the border, etc.

Urban issues: strategic town planning, the housing projects, land leasing policy, water and food security, construction of the Daya Bay Nuclear Power Plant, etc.

預期研究成果 Expected Outcomes

Open knowledge and public scholarship: Study declassified records in all centres, especially records stored in the National Archives (TNA) of the UK government. Locate the key 10% records (500 pieces) among 5000 records in TNA and create a public library by digitising those selected records for further studies.

International connections: Connect international and local media and arouse discussions on Hong Kong’s future, social problems, and political system.

Popularisation: Present key findings with visual aids.

Public discourse: Support researches and publications to arouse public concern on issues revealed.

主要參與青年學人 Major Youth Scholar Participants

敖卓軒 (美國紐約大學全球史碩士生)
Jeffrey Ngo (M.A. Student of Global Histories, New York University)
陳劍青 (香港大專兼任講師、本土研究社成員)
Chan Kim Ching (Guest Lecturer in Hong Kong, Independent Research in Liber Research Community)
施懿倫 (台灣清華大學社會所碩士生)
Shih I-lun. (M.A. Student in Institute of Sociology, National Tsing Hua University)
方志信 (英國華威大學政治與國際關係學系碩士)
Fong Chi Shun (M.A. in International Political Economy, The University of Warwick)
鍾曉烽 (香港中文大學新聞及傳播學院研究生)
Chung Hiu Fung (M.Phil. Student in Communication, CUHK)
周永康 (英國倫敦政治經濟學院城市設計及社會科學碩士生)
Alex Chow (M.Sc. Student of City Design and Social Science, LSE)
Leung Shi-Chi Daren (Ph.D. student in Gender and Cultural Studies, The University of Sydney)

學術推薦 Academic Endorsement


Prof. Larry Diamond (Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University and Political Scientist)
One of the most basic rights of any society or community is the right to know their own history. Crucial facts regarding Hong Kong’s colonial history, and its transition from British rule to Special Administrative Region under the “one country, two systems" framework, reside in British archives that are gradually being declassified. This declassification provides an important opportunity for scholars from Hong Kong and elsewhere to establish a more complete and definitive understanding of the transition in Hong Kong’s political status. One does not need to favor Hong Kong separatism (and I do not) in order to support the rights of Hong Kong’s people to democracy, and to know their history. I am therefore pleased to support the project, “Decoding Hong Kong’s History."


Prof. Jerome A. Cohen (New York University Law School, Faculty Director of its US-Asia Law Institute, and Adjunct Senior Fellow, Council on Foreign Relations)
This is a major research project of profound political importance. It deserves our support.


Prof. Law Wing Sang (Associate Professor of Cultural Studies, Lingnan University)
Knowledge of the past helps to guide our journey ahead. Too much of the negotiations over Hong Kong’s past were kept in secret––a history that requires objective and substantive research to uncover.


Prof. Wu,Jie-min (Associate Research Fellow, Institute of Sociology, Academia Sinica, Taiwan)

Every generation searches for their identity by re-experiencing the history they do not live through. To decode the declassified, but still buried documents belongs to such an identity formation process. I fully support this project proposed by the young talents, which can open up new horizons for our understanding of the current situation of Hong Kong.


Prof. Hui, Po Keung (Associate Professor, Department of Cultural Studies, Lingnan University)
The quagmire currently swallowing Hong Kong is largely led by thoughtless decisions of many, in particular those in power, and this must be avoided in no time. To escape the impasse and lead to a healthy social development, learning and thinking through diligent and systematic research are indispensable.


Prof. Benny Tai Yiu Ting (Associate Professor, Faculty of Law at The University of Hong Kong)
Events over the past several years in Hong Kong have compelled our young generation to breakthrough the constraints self-imposed by their predecessors. Indeed, we as Hong Kongers, for the first time ever, realise that we do have a stake in determining our own future. This research project is to empower us to recapture our destiny by way of understanding our obscure past.


Dr. Joseph Lian Yizheng (Former Chief Editor of the Hong Kong Economic Journal)
At first it seems paradoxical to underpin a research project on Hong Kong’s future on piles of declassified official documents from around the world, but then it makes real sense when one considers the specific context of Hong Kong’s recent history–that its future, and key moments were under the world’s spotlight. It is therefore necessary to have a thorough knowledge on what other governments of key countries thought about Hong Kong, their perspectives on and attitudes towards the evolving events on the transfer of sovereignty of Hong Kong in the 1980s. A solid research on these aspects is imperative to hint on what might or might not work as far as our self-determination movement in general is concerned. I wish this project every success.