When I worked there I got two very different sides of the story. Some thought handing back control by the British the best thing that had happened in their lifetime, whilst others admired Chris Patten very much and were devastated by the handover. One person asked me, 'What do you think was the proudest day of my life?' I said, wedding day, birth of your first child... No she said. The day HK was handed back to China. A colleague said, she'd been very sad and was fearful of the new rule.
Some were the children of mixed Chinese/English marriages, so their bonds with both nations were strong. The agreement was for guaranteeing a 50-year extension of its capitalist economic system, trading and government. It seems the Chinese are now foreshortening that after 22 years.
Under the 'one country, two systems' rule, Hong Kong has enjoyed freedoms which are not seen on the mainland. The protesters are angry at the perceived interference from Beijing, and yesterday an official warned the UK to step back and not interfere. I am concerned about former colleagues and worry about contacting them for fear of putting them in a difficult situation.