Newly released official papers show that the UK government was nervous about handing Hong Kong back to China. So nervous that officials considered moving the whole population of 5.5 million to Northern Ireland!
The discussions were found in papers from 1983 that were released this week.
The file “Replantation of Northern Ireland from Hong Kong" featured discussion on the plan by a number of officials in the UK Government's Northern Ireland Office. George Fergusson, an official at that office, raised a proposal by a local university lecturer to move the population of Hong Kong as a method to revitalize the local economy as well as save Hong Kong, which the lecturer believed had “no future on its present site.”
“At this stage we see real advantages in taking the proposal seriously,” Fergusson wrote in a memo to a colleague in the Foreign Office.
However his colleagues did not take the proposal as seriously as he suggested and the idea went nowhere. Hong Kong, along with the full population, was handed back to China in 1997.