After the change of sovereignty in Hong Kong from Britain to China on July 1st, 1997, the status of Putonghua (the language of the new Chinese ruler) has been formally recognized in addition to Cantonese (the vernacular language) and English (the international and ex-colonizer's language). Four years after the political handover, a Matched-guise test was conducted on a total of 1048 local Hong Kong Secondary 4 students. The aim of this study was to ascertain the respondents' subjective reactions towards the three languages when the city was undergoing significant political and socio-economic changes. The results showed that the Cantonese guise was rated the highest on traits of solidarity, the English guise the highest on traits of power, whereas the Putonghua guise was rated the lowest in both dimensions. Although the study started from a micro perspective investigating the attitudes of the respondents towards the three target languages and their speakers, the research results helped to reveal the vitality of the three target languages in post-colonial Hong Kong and suggest directions for language education. Copyright © 2007 John Benjamins Publishing Company.