This chapter demonstrates the development and parameters of the Hong Kong state. It offers a definition of a state so that the following analysis can be placed within a contextual relationship. Hong Kong was never a 'run of the mill' British colony. The Letters Patent and the Royal Instructions together formed the written constitution of Hong Kong. It is difficult to define exactly what kind of recognition Hong Kong enjoys in the international community. Technically Hong Kong was a colony, with the agenda for its administration being set in the British Foreign Office and Downing Street. Both Britain and China entered into the transitional period claiming that Hong Kong was rightfully theirs by law and that, therefore, they had the right to decide what role Hong Kong would play in the international community. An aspect of Hong Kong's 'legal proximity of statehood' is its membership of many international bodies which are comprised solely of state representatives.