With the 20 year anniversary of Hong Kong's return to China less than three weeks away some are remembering the past and regretting some of the changes. As Grace Lee reports, historic colonial structures have been demolished at a fast rate in recent decades as the city makes room for development in one of the most expensive property markets in the world.
With the 20 year anniversary of Hong Kong's return to China less than three weeks away... Some are looking to the future, while others are remembering the past. And little reflects the changes this city has gone through more than its architecture. Historic colonial structures have been demolished at a fast rate in recent decades - As the city makes room for development - In one of the the most expensive property markets in the world. (SOUNDBITE) (English) GRACE LEE, REUTERS CORRESPONDENT This building behind me is one of just over a hundred remaining colonial-era buildings under protection. Many were bulldozed in the 70s and 80s, when Hong Kong was hit with a major wave of redevelopment. Ahead of the handover, the British government quickly focused on boosting the property market - to make some fast cash ahead of an uncertain future. That meant colonial landmarks making way for the skyscrapers and highrises that dominate the skyline today. Since then, the city's obsession with property development has only got stronger... (SOUNDBITE) (English) PROFESSOR AT HONG KONG UNIVERSITY'S ARCHITECTURE DEPARTMENT, LEE HO-YIN, SAYING: "The biggest obstacle to conservation is this priority given to development, and this has to be resolved through policy and legal means. Right now we do have some kind of slightly more effective policy in heritage conservation but we have not updated our law in protecting our built heritage." With no change to Hong Kong's heritage laws for decades... preserving memories of the past may rely more on the history books than the urban explorations in years to come.