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JULY 1982 Uncertainty grows about Hong Kong's future after 1997, when British lease on New Territories ends. Chinese leader Deng Xiaoping says China will assume sovereignty over the whole colony then. SEPTEMBER 1982

Prime Minister Thatcher travels to Peking, initiating series of talks. China says it will assert Peking's control over Hong Kong in 1997. NOVEMBER 1982

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China reveals plan to change Chinese Constitution to turn Hong Kong into self-governing ''special administrative zone,'' leaving legal, social, and economic systems untouched. JULY 1983

China denies it will change Constitution to allow Hong Kong to have status separate from mainland. Starting with resumption of Sino-British talks in July, Peking repeatedly denounces British position. OCTOBER 1983

Hong Kong currency is pegged to US dollar, prime interest rate drops from 16 to 13.5 percent. British and Chinese negotiators describe talks as ''useful and constructive.'' JANUARY 22, 1984

Thatcher says she sees no chance of Britain retaining control over Hong Kong after 1997. MARCH 28, 1984

Jardine, Matheson, the colony's most established trading company, announces it is moving its legal domicile to Bermuda. MAY 25, 1984

Deng says China will station up to 5,000 troops in Hong Kong after 1997. AUGUST 1, 1984

British Foreign Secretary Geoffrey Howe announces agreement, expected to be completed in September, which allows Hong Kong to keep its own legal system and laws, decide its own economic and trade policies, manage its own financial affairs, and retain free rights of travel.

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