1997 5 oz Gold Hong Kong Return

500 Yuan Proof Coin

About the 1997 5 oz Gold Hong Kong Return 500 Yuan Proof Coin

Pictured above is the 1997 5 oz gold Return of Hong Kong coin with a  denomination of 500 yuan.  It is one of a series of four coins issued by the People's Bank of China to celebrate the transfer of sovereignty of Hong Kong from the United Kingdom to the People's Republic of China which officially occurred in 1997.  This 60mm diameter proof coin has a fineness of 99.95% and was struck with a mintage of 228 at the Shanghai Mint.

A depiction of the Gate of Heavenly Peace appears on the obverse face of the coin.  The gate is located in Beijing and serves as the front entrance to the Forbidden City.  Often seen as a national symbol of China, the gate was built in 1420 at the time of the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644), and has since then represented the power of China. The image shows the gate in the background with a totem pole in the foreground, bound by a floral motif.  Above the image are the characters with the meaning: “The People's Republic of China”.  Below the floral design is the year of issue, 1997.

A complex and detailed design appears on the reverse face.  Around the top edge of the coin is the inscription in Chinese characters: “The Founding of Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of P.R. China”.  A similar inscription, but in English, appears around the bottom edge of the coin face.  Featured in the centre is the face of Deng Xiaoping (1904-1997) set over a detailed rendering of the Hong Kong skyline.  On the left hand side is the face value, 500 yuan. 

Deng was the leader who advanced negotiations with the United Kingdom over the sovereignty of Hong Kong, which eventually led to the signing of the Sino-British Joint Declaration in 1984.  The agreement stated that Hong Kong would be handed over to the PRC by 1997, but that Hong Kong would maintain its economic and some political freedoms for 50 years following this handover date.  Since the transfer, Hong Kong has indeed operated as a capitalist economy and with a certain degree of political freedom from the Mainland - privileges which it enjoyed under British rule.  This is what is known as the theory of 'one country, two systems', a highly effective idea masterminded by Deng and applied to areas such as Hong Kong and Macau.  It effectively gives them the freedom to operate as capitalist economies, whilst still remaining part of a socialist China.


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