Key Takeaways Hong Kong exists as a special administrative region controlled by the PRC, with the benefit of its limited self-government, defined in Hong Kongs Basic Law. Geography & Climate of Hong Kong Hong Kong is located at the south-east corner of the Peoples Republic of China, approximately 1,200 kilometers from Shanghai, the next largest city, and almost 2,000 kilometers from Beijing, the capital. Hong Kong covers the islands of Hong Kong, Lantau, Kowloon Peninsula, and New Territories, including 262 remote islands. Hong Kong is a Special Administrative Region of the Peoples Republic of China, which has been mostly free to run its affairs independently, under one country, two systems, the national unification policy developed by Chinese leader Deng Xiaoping in the 1980s. Under the one country, two systems doctrine, mainland China allowed Hong Kong to continue governing itself and to retain a number of separate systems over the course of 50 years.
The 99-year lease ended in 1997, when the United Kingdom returned Hong Kong to mainland China as a special administrative region (SAR), called the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the Peoples Republic of China (HKSAR). Cheap labour was brought in, and Hong Kong slowly recovered its pre-World War II status of being a highly wealthy, independent colony, but Hong Kong became part of Chinese territory once more on 1 July 1997, when Britain handed over the colony to the Peoples Republic of China. The territory had diverged from mainland China due to the lengthy time it had been under colonial rule, and a different rate of economic, social, and cultural development.
As promised, the Chinese mainland respected the autonomy of the territory in its internal affairs, including economic policies. China is governed by the Communist Party of China, which has jurisdiction over 22 provinces, five self-governing regions, four directly controlled municipalities, and the sacraments of Hong Kong and Macau. The mainland of China has the worlds second largest economy, with $14.3 trillion, behind the U.S., with $21.4 trillion.
Mainland Chinas economy is most reliant on manufacturing, though the industry has started picking up steam in recent years. Given the lifting of all political barriers and the will to do so by mainland China, it is merely logical that Hong Kong industrialists should pursue the development of labour-intensive, land-intensive industries within China, where they can obtain mineral resources, cheap labour, and abundant land. Multinational corporations and banks–many of whom have maintained regional headquarters in Hong Kong–have historically used Hong Kongs location as a gateway for doing business in Beijing, due partly to its proximity to the worlds second-largest economy and a legal system grounded in British common law.
Now a special administrative region of China (since its alleged transfer of power from the British in 1997), Hong Kong is very much in flux, but has the distinction of hosting a global citizenry of widely diverse backgrounds, all of whom work together to make the place function. David Gray/Reuters The first Hong Kong chief executive, Tung Chee-hwa, smiles during Hong Kongs special administrative regions inauguration, Hong Kongs official handover from the British government to Beijing, July 1, 1997. The Basic Law, which was passed by Britain, meant Hong Kong would keep its currency (the Hong Kong dollar), legal system, and parliamentary system for a period of fifty years – the period ending in 2047. The Peoples Republic of China allows the SAR to participate as associate member in some intergovernmental bodies, such as the Asian Development Bank and World Health Organisation; and to engage in some commercial-related agreements as Hong Kong, China.
Fifty-three countries–most of them participating in infrastructure projects under the Beijing Belt and Road Initiative–signed a declaration, which was read out to the Legislative Council in July 2020, supporting the Basic Law for Hong Kong, whereas only twenty-seven countries signed a counter-statement critical of it. Political debates following the handover have focused on democratic developments in the region and on whether the Central Government adheres to the principle of one country, two systems. Political groups have capitalized on a phenomenon whereby an increasing number of people see themselves as Hong Kongers, or Hong Kongers-in-Beijing, in contrast to the identification of Chinese nationals.
It is surrounded on all sides by the South China Sea, with the exception of the North, where it is bordered by Guangdongs city of Shenzhen by the Shamchun River. A Peoples Liberation Army (PLA) garrison consisting of about 5,000 soldiers, officers, and support personnel currently occupies former British military buildings in Hong Kong, including Central Barracks at Admiralty; the naval base at Stonecutters Island; and the Shek Kong Airfield. Communications Country Newspapers Radios Television sets Cable subscribers a Mobile phones a Fax machines a Personal computers a Internet hosts b Internet users b 1996 1997 1998 1998 1998 1998 1998 1999 Hong Kong 792 684 431 61.8 475 54.3 254.2 142.77 2,430 United States 215 2,146 847 244.3 256 78.4 458.6 1,508.77 74,100 Mainland China N/A 333 272 40.0 19 1.6 8.9 0.50 8,900 South Korea 393 1,033 346 138.3 302 N/A 156.8 55.53 10,860 aData is from the International Telecommunications Union, World Telecommunications Development Report 1999 and is a n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a 256 78.4 458.6 1,508.77 74,100 74,100 n/a 333 272 40.0 19 1.6 8.9 0.50 8,900 South Korea 393 1,033 346 138.3 302 138.3 302 n/A 138.3 302 n/A 138.8 55.53 n/A 138.8 55.53 n/A 138.9 138.9 138.9 138.9 138.9 138.9 138.9 138.9 138.9 138.9 138.9 138.
In 2000, the Hong Kong government hinted at a massive project to build 6 more lines to facilitate (make easier) rail traffic between Hong Kong Island and the rest of the territory, and also to improve freight links with mainland China to meet expected future needs.